CDC calls for quicker reporting of polio-like illness cases

The CDC on July 9 asked physicians to more quickly report suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis, the polio-like illness infecting children nationwide, reports STAT.

The delayed reporting of cases limits the type of samples that can be taken from AFM patients and complicates efforts to identify the illnesses' cause, the agency said. The CDC wants to know about suspected cases while children are still in the hospital, according to Tom Clark, MD, deputy director of the agency's division of viral disease.

"The kid may have gone home [from the hospital] before we're even notified. It's not ideal for us," he told STAT. "So we're really trying to make the case that it's rapid recognition and reporting that will help us systematically collect the best specimens early enough to advance our understanding of what's causing the AFM."

The CDC on July 9 also released updated AFM data for 2018. The agency reported 233 confirmed AFM cases last year in 41 states. This year, 11 cases have been confirmed in eight states. The exact cause of the illness is still unknown.

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