Polio-like condition in kids likely to spike in coming months, CDC warns

Based on previous trends, cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like condition in children, may spike in the U.S. between August and November, a new CDC report shows.

Acute flaccid myelitis is a serious neurologic syndrome that affects mostly children and is characterized by the acute onset of limb weakness or paralysis. The report, published Aug. 4, includes an analysis of data from 238 patients with confirmed acute flaccid myelitis during 2018.

A majority of the patients (86 percent) experienced the onset of the condition between August and November. Most (92 percent) had prodromal fever, respiratory illness, or both, beginning a median of 6 days before experiencing limb weakness.

Overall, 98 percent of patients were hospitalized, 54 percent were admitted to an intensive care unit, and 23 percent required endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation.

Another peak acute flaccid myelitis year is anticipated this year, but it is unclear "whether or how the COVID-19 pandemic and recommended social-distancing measures will affect" trends, the report states.

As of July 31, there have been 16 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 2020. There have been 633 confirmed cases since CDC began tracking the condition in August 2014.


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