State and national health authorities are raising the alarm about a polio-like "mystery illness" that has left dozens of children with paralysis and other symptoms in MA and 21 other states.
Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 362 cases.
There was a confirmed in the state case back in 2017 and one in 2016.
It takes some time to investigate each case, Messonnier said. There is no specific treatment or cure for the illness.
CDC officials say they haven't found the cause.
It's possible that some milder cases haven't been reported by doctors to their state health department or the CDC, but Messonnier believes that number would be small. This is the first report of potential AFM to the NDDoH.
In a press briefing Tuesday, officials talked about an increase in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) this year.
"But the appearance of the AFM symptoms is actually very rare".
Messonnier stressed that while she understands how frightening this situation is for parents, they should remember that the infections are, in fact, rare. Testing of affected children has turned up a smattering of infections - some by enteroviruses, which is the broad family to which polioviruses belong, but also rhinoviruses, which cause head colds.More news: NY Dems And GOP Point Fingers After Weekend Violence
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While the virus has similarities with polio, Messonnier stressed that polio was not the cause of the disease.
Health officials urge parents to be vigilant, as there's a lot unknown about the syndrome and what causes it.
Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 386 cases nationally through October 16, mostly in children.
The cases this year seem to be spread across much of the country, as were the earlier two waves.
"It's definitely not been transmissable from person to person from what the investigation so far has seen".
"We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk".
As of yet, there is no known effective treatment for the condition, but the vast majority of patients do recover with treatment.
Parents can best protect their children from serious diseases by taking prevention steps, such as washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites, Messonnier said.
It shows distinct abnormalities of the spinal cord gray matter on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The CDC emphasized that none of the children who developed these symptoms had the polio virus.
While AFM has made it onto quite a few headlines this year, the number of confirmed cases is on a similar level to those in 2014 and 2016.