CDC confirms 10 more cases of AFM: 4 things to know

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

The CDC confirmed 10 additional cases of acute flaccid myelitis, bringing the total number of children infected with the rare, polio-like illness to 72 this year, reports Reuters.

Here are four things to know:

1. The virus has infected children across 24 states, and the CDC is still investigating another 47 potential cases.

2. The CDC first identified AFM cases in 2014. Since then, the agency has confirmed 396 cases nationwide. Most of these cases occur in individuals under age 19, although children under age 4 represent the largest proportion of infections.

3. The agency has not identified a cause for the infections, but the condition "doesn't appear to be transmissible from human to human," CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said Oct. 29 during an interview with "CBS This Morning."

4. CDC researchers, who already ruled out polio through testing, are considering every possible explanation for the uptick in cases, including various viruses and environmental toxins.

"We're actually looking at everything. And certainly after three cycles of this, when we've looked through all the normal agents, we're looking beyond that to see if there are things beyond normal infectious diseases that could cause this," Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told STAT. "This is a mystery so far, and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly."

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