BOSTON (WHDH) - The odds of getting the polio-like disease is less than one in a million; however, six cases in the Bay State are under investigation and two are confirmed, the Department of Public Health announced.
The rare disease, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis, mainly in children.
Symptoms of AFM include sudden limb weakness, loss of muscle tone and reflexes, facial and eyelid drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most severe symptom is breathing trouble.
There is no specific treatment for AFM.
At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year, and at least 65 additional illnesses in those states are being investigated, according to the CDC.
Officials say they haven’t found the cause. Some possible suspects, such as polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out. Another kind of virus is suspected, but it’s been found in only some of the cases.
Nancy Messonnier, a doctor at the CDC, called the disease a “mystery.”
Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.
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