One confirmed case of polio-like virus in Ohio

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As many as 127 confirmed or suspected cases of the disease have been identified this year across a region that includes 22 different states.

The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.

MA has a confirmed case of a polio-like illness that is being reported across the country.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, updated the media and public via a conference call on Tuesday. Several cases have been linked to enteroviruses or other germs, but officials have not been able to find a cause for the majority of these cases. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis. In 2016, there were 149 cases. One child with the disorder died in 2017.

Officials at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City said two cases of AFM have been confirmed at the hospital. The first case in Maryland this year was contracted September 21, a spokeswoman for the department said in an email.

Most people infected with enteroviruses suffer only minor symptoms like cough and runny nose. Parents should seek medical care right away if their child develops sudden weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs. Officials said some patients diagnosed with AFM recover quickly, while others need ongoing care.

More than 120 confirmed or possible cases are under investigation nationwide, according to the CDC. Fifteen states said they'd confirmed cases this year. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", Messonnier said during a teleconference for reporters.

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Mary Anne Jackson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and interim dean of the school of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said numerous patients she saw were healthy children before falling ill with the disease.

AFM remains extremely rare, even with the recent increase.

Despite symptoms reminiscent of polio, no AFM cases have tested positive for that virus, according to the CDC. Messonnier said West Nile virus, which had been listed as a possible cause on CDC's website, is not causing the illnesses. Most of the cases are in children under the age of 19, with kids under the age of 4 appearing to make up the biggest portion of cases.

Officials said they will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases.

The CDC is investigating the outbreak. The disorder has been diagnosed in children who have received some of their recommended vaccinations and in unvaccinated children, she said.

Many other aspects of the illness remain unknown, including what factors puts a person at risk of becoming ill and the long-term consequences. But so far, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

Acute flaccid myelitis affects the spinal cord and can cause partial paralysis.

"Any weakness, including trouble swallowing, weakness of an extremity, especially in a child who has recently gone through signs of an infection, those would be the main red flags", said Sarah Hopkins.