The 2014 outbreak of AFM coincided with a surge of another virus that caused severe respiratory problems, called EV-D68, However, the CDC could not establish a causal link between AFM and the virus.
Right. But here's the political part - the part that raises question marks that simply hang in dead air: Guess who doesn't get vaccinated according to set CDC schedules?
Despite the recent spike in reported cases of AFM, Messonnier underscored that the disease is "incredibly rare" and has been diagnosed annually at a rate of less than one in a million since 2014. But the data reported Tuesday represents "a substantially larger number than in previous months this year", Messonnier said.
It attacks the nervous system, specifically the spinal area.
She said the CDC and research partners are casting a wide net trying to figure out what is causing the rise in cases, suggesting scientists have been looking at a variety of viruses and even environmental toxins in their search.
Two children in MA have contracted a serious, rare illness that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Maryland's first case was reported September 21.
One child has died of the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.
"It's rare, but certainly when you hear about it it's very scary for parents", CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula told "CBS This Morning".
"As a parent myself, I understand what it is like to be scared for your child".
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention this week issued a warning about a disease known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), an illness it says it knows very little about but can cause arm or leg weakness and paralysis, particularly in children. Some patients have recovered and others continue to experience paralysis, requiring ongoing care.
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Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for AFM, though the CDC says neurologists may suggest options on a case-by-case basis. Certain viruses that can cause AFM or similar neurologic conditions include polio, West Nile, and adenoviruses.
Health officials urge parents to be vigilant, as there's a lot unknown about the syndrome and what causes it.
Rathore, the Jacksonville specialist, said he was not shocked at seeing a case this year.
"It's definitely not been transmissable from person to person from what the investigation so far has seen".
Jackson, who also saw persistent muscle weakness in her patients, said she believes the CDC may be hesitant to specify the long-term effects of disease because existing studies have included only small numbers of patients. Nor can they explain why only a handful of infected children developed AFM. CDC has tested every stool specimen from every AFM patient.
The CDC encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites. "But we don't know why in some patients it may affect the spinal cord".
"We want to see that education", he said, "in order to have early recognition and detection".
Other countries have reported AFM cases, but not the same seasonal pattern the United States has experienced.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, so far there has been one confirmed case in Ohio.
On Monday, CNN reached out to health departments in every state and received responses from 48 states plus the District of Columbia.
Washington Post writers Dana Hedgpeth and Justin Wm.