CDC Investigates Polio-like Condition — Three Separate Cases Reported in NJ
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned about a Polio-like condition with 38 reported cases nationwide this year in 16 states.
The New Jersey Department of Health reported one case in February and two in August but said they are not linked to the multi-state investigation. There was one confirmed New Jersey case in 2016 and six in 2016.
The condition called Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare condition that affects a person’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. AFM or neurologic conditions like it have a variety of causes such as viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders. It affects mostly children, according to the CDC.
The number of cases has been increasing since 2014 with a total of 362. However, it remains a very rare condition with less than one in a million affected. It's not clear to the CDC what triggered the increase
WPVI-TV reportd that Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) treated two cases in August.
The CDC said that the patients’ symptoms have been most similar to complications of infection with certain viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and West Nile virus. They include a sudden onset of arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.
Some people will experience:
- facial droop/weakness
- difficulty moving the eyes
- drooping eyelids
- difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech.