2 cases of polio-like illness confirmed in Wisconsin

Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates

The increase in cases appeared to begin in 2014, when the CDC started tracking the illness.

But what is particularly confounding doctors is that the number of cases spikes only every other year - with larger numbers in 2014, 2016 and this year - and fewer cases in 2015 and 2017.

While the symptoms are scary for parents, it's not likely your child will get it, Kerkering said the odds are less than 1 in a million. But officials haven't been able to find a single agent that would explain the clusters of cases that occur around the same time. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to conclude that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"[There's] nothing that provides the unifying diagnosis that we'd expect to explain these peaks of disease", Messonnier said. In addition, officials do not yet know the long-term effects of AFM.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 127 cases of possible AFM, including 62 that have been confirmed in 22 states this year. Maryland's first case was reported September 21.

Faircloth said she wants other parents to be aware. "All of a sudden, 'Mommy I can't zip my trousers". But she stressed that despite the increase in cases, the illness is still very rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in a million people in the USA each year.

"We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly, and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care, " she said, according to NPR.

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There is no specific treatment for AFM, according to the CDC, although neurologists might recommend things like physical therapy to help treat muscle weakness on a case-by-case basis.

There is also a fourth new suspected case in eastern Pennsylvania, Nate Wardle, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said Thursday. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis.

The medical name is Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM.

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

The agency also said it will post case count updates on its website every week now, a change from the monthly updates it had been giving. Yet, experts still do not understand crucial aspects of the disease, including its origins and who is most at risk.

For example, the CDC doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or why some are at higher risk, she said. No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

She recommended that parents take routine protections against viral infections, such as keeping up to date on immunizations, washing hands, and avoiding mosquito bites. "It seems like they're mostly clustered in the summer, but they can occur throughout the year", said Berbari.

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