Paralyzing Polio-Like Virus Outbreak Confirmed in 31 States, Officials Report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examining 170 cases
A rare 'polio-like' acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has infected more children in the US has risen to 116, CDC officials have confirmed.
Cases of the mystery illness have now been reported in thirty-one states, which can cause paralysis and prove fatal in some cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently examining 170 cases of people displaying tell-tale symptoms of AFM.
Doctors remain baffled on how to tackle disease as there are more than three-and-a-half times as many cases as the previous year.
There have been 286 reports of people suffering from acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in 31 states, according to CDC figures.
The majority of people suffering from the illness are under 18 equating to 90% - with the average age of the patient being four years old.
The early signs of the virus in children fever and a cough lasting for three to 10 days.
AFM can quickly leave people paralyzed following the flu-like illness, and even end up fatal.
Similar to the polio-like illness which affected hundreds of thousands of people in the 1900s, the disease resembles a typical viral infection.
A dedicated task force was launched by the CDC last week in an attempt to tackle the illness by examining its causes and working out how to treat it.
Up to now, the worst state has been Colorado, with 15 cases, followed by Texas with 14.
Following those are Washington, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, with eight each, Illinois with seven, and New Jersey and Wisconsin with six.
Another three verified cases per state in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Maryland, and two each in Maine, New York City, the Carolinas, Kentucky, and Iowa.
And Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Virginia, and Rhode Island have each had a single case.
Just 19 states have not reported any patients coming down with the disease.
There are likely to be more cases, according to experts.
Officials are uncertain whether the risk is more significant in states with more cases.
The majority of patients coming down with the illness have been struck down between August and October
CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said it is the agency's top priority to tackle the virus.
Scientists are scrambling to investigate the number of causes, including viruses, genetic disorders, and genetic disorders.
'We know that EV-D68 – as well as other enteroviruses – can cause limb weakness, but we don't know what's triggering AFM in these patients,' said the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier.
In a recent interview, Dr. Redfield said: 'CDC's been working very hard on this, since 2014, to try to understand causation and etiology.
'As we sit here today, we don't have an understanding of the cause.
'We are, you know, continuing to strengthen our efforts, working in partnership with state and territorial health departments, and academic experts to try to figure this out.'