Like polio, AFM attacks the central nervous system, and thus far, no cure has been found for the debilitating condition.
Early symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but can rapidly escalate into a paralysis of large amounts of a child’s body within a few days.
Twice as many cases of AFM as last year
The recent outbreak is not confined to a specific geographical area; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that the new cases have occurred in 24 separate states.
The outbreak is similar to one in 2014 that affected 120 people – last year there were only 21 cases.
AFM has been associated with a strain of enterovirus that appears to currently be in circulation. Enteroviruses typically cause only mild illnesses in children such as summer colds and respiratory infections, but if they manage to get into the central nervous system, they can cause much more damage.
Dr. Kevin Messacar, a pediatrician and specialist in infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said:
“August to October is typically when enteroviruses circulate. We see more acute flaccid myelitis during that season and we do seem to be seeing an increase in the cases that have been reported. …
“I think it’s important that we take it seriously because the effects of this condition appear to be long term and are disabling.”
No known cure for AFM
Since there is no cure for AFM, treatments are aimed at merely alleviating symptoms, but doctors say that it’s still important to recognize the early warning signs of the disease and to seek care immediately.
From the CDC website:
“A doctor can tell the difference between AFM and other diseases with a careful examination of the nervous system, looking at the location of the weakness, muscle tone, and reflexes, to help differentiate such patients from patients with other forms of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). …
“Finally, by testing the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, the fluid bathing the brain and spinal cord), clinicians can look for findings suggestive of AFM.”
The CDC’s assessment of AFM is rather confusing, however. According to their website, AFM can be caused by “a variety of germs, including several viruses.”
These include enteroviruses (both polio and non-polio), West Nile virus (and viruses in the same family as WNV) and adenoviruses.
The CDC recommends – unsurprisingly – that children should be up-to-date on all vaccines, though it’s unclear how vaccines will help prevent the disease since there is no vaccine that prevents the enterovirus linked to the current outbreak.
Other recommendations for prevention include avoiding mosquito bites, washing hands frequently and avoiding sick people.
Some of the children affected have shown improvement after being diagnosed with AFM, but many will never fully recover and may be paralyzed for life.
The only good news is that since cases of AFM tend to spike during late summer and early fall, there will hopefully not be many more new diagnoses this year.
Meanwhile, it’s safe to assume that Big Pharma will be clamoring to invent a new vaccines to add to the barrage of required injections for children, which may actually be the real reason that their immune systems are already so compromised that they are susceptible to diseases like AFM.
The best way to prevent disease, in general, is to build a healthy immune system naturally – through proper diet and dietary supplements that boost the body’s resistance – but of course, the CDC won’t tell you that. …