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CDC disease detectives still unable to pin down source of mysterious, polio-like illness

Brian Zimmerman of Becker’s Healthcare:

Epidemic Intelligence Service officers with the CDC still cannot pinpoint the cause of a paralysis inducing illness, which led to a cluster of hospitalizations among children in Washington state in 2016.

Acute flaccid myelitis is a condition that affects the spinal cord, inciting limb weakness and paralysis. It has previously been linked to strains of several viruses, including West Nile and adenovirus.

In 2014, the CDC confirmed 120 cases of AFM in the United States. These cases occurred concurrently with outbreaks of severe respiratory illness caused by a strain of enterovirus — a virus often associated with the common cold. Prior investigative research conducted by the CDC suggested a potential link between the virus and AFM. After dipping to 21 cases in 2015, AFM cases increased to 96 in 2016. Research presented Monday at the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference in Atlanta has weakened the suspected link between the condition and enterovirus.”

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