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By & # 39; Maggie Fox
At least 116 people, mostly children, have been confirmed with conditions similar to polio myelitis called acute flakcid, federal health officials said Monday.
The Centers for Control and Prevention of Disease say they are investigating 286 cases of & # 39; AFM, which puts 2018 on track to be a busy year for cases & # 39; poorly understood syndrome.
"S & # 39; now in 2018, there are 116 confirmed cases of & # 39; AFM in 31 states," the CDC said in its latest update.
The CDC says that for m & # 39; has confirmed cause for AFM, which is marked & # 39; deboliment or muscle paralysis caused by damage to the spinal cord. But the damage is the type & # 39; often caused by viruses. Although the majority of patients test positive for one specific virus, family & # 39; viruses called enteroviruses key suspect – especially one called EV-D68.
Enteroviruses often circulate in autumn and winter and while they rarely cause symptoms worse than a common cold, can lead to complications in & # 39; rare circumstances.
The CDC noted a & # 39; & # annually model in 39; cases & # 39; AFM, b & # 39; 120 confirmed cases in 2014, 22 cases in 2015, 149 cases in 2016 and 33 cases in 2017.
"Respiratory and fever from viral infections such as enteroviruses are common, especially in children, and most people recover. We do not know why a small number of & # 39; patients develop AFM, while many others recover," said CDC.
Possible explanations include direct nerve attack by virus, immune response that affects nerves, or genetic susceptibility among some patients.