Cases of a mysterious, polio-like condition have been popping up throughout the country, including in New Jersey.
It’s called acute flaccid myelitis, a rare condition that can weaken the muscles and even cause paralysis.
Polio-Like Disease Strikes at Least 41 Children in 16 States, Pittsburgh Latest | Trending
A spike in AFM cases throughout the U.S. has raised concern, and federal health officials have launched an investigation to try to pin down the cause.
New Jersey is not among the states being investigated. But state health officials said cases have been reported in the Garden State in recent months.
So far, there have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 states, including Illinois, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, multiple news outlets have reported.
AFM is not a new condition, but it has been on the rise in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While AFM resembles polio, there is no vaccine for this mysterious disease. The cause remains unknown, although doctors have suggested it might be a virus.
Though New Jersey is not part of the CDC’s multistate investigation, it has had three confirmed cases of AFM so far this year: one in February and two in August, according to a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health.
The CDC says it still hasn’t been able to track down the cause of the cases throughout the U.S.
Lets hope and pray doctors can find a cure, or perhaps a vaccine. While modern medicine has achieved wonders, theres always more work to do.
However, several potential causes of the condition include poliovirus, adenoviruses, enterovirus and West Nile virus.
“It is probably an enterovirus, but they have not determined which yet,” said Dr. David Cennimo, an assistant professor of medicine-pediatrics infectious disease at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in a statement. “Most people experience enterovirus as a cold, but in a few unlucky ones they can have severe complications.”
Though enteroviruses are usually mild, in rare cases they can cause neurologic illnesses like AFM, meningitis and encephalitis.