One of the most feared and terrible diseases of the 20th century is making a resurgence in the United States but in a new and devastating form. Although the crippling disease known as Poliomyelitis (Polio) was eradicated in the United States by 1979, (thanks to an aggressive vaccination program) there are still parts of the world in which the disease is running rampant.
While this current outbreak is NOT Polio, it is very similar in its symptoms and the devastating effect it can have on those who contract it.
According to CBS News, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 62 cases of the rare polio-like neurological condition acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, so far this year in the U.S. More than 90 percent of the cases involved children 18 or younger, with an average age of just 4 years old.
"Cases have been confirmed in 22 states. Officials said they are looking at an additional 65 possible cases of AFM."
Poliomyelitis, which crippled and killed thousands of Americans during the mid-20th century, is preventable with the polio vaccine; however, multiple doses are required for it to be effective. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends polio vaccination boosters for travelers and those who live in countries where the disease is occurring.
According to PolioEratication.com, This is down from 350,000 wild cases in 1988. In 2014 the disease was only spreading between people in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. According to the World Health Organization. In 2015 Nigeria had stopped the spread of wild poliovirus but it reoccurred in 2016.
And now, we have another polio-like disease that is striking young children, and parents are, understandably, alarmed.
People reports, “A rare but deadly disease with polio-like symptoms called Acute Flaccid Myelitis has claimed more children than usual since 2014," according to an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - with rates appearing to skyrocket over the past few weeks.
People reports, There have been 362 cases of the disease, which affects the patient’s nervous system, especially the spinal cord, since August 2014, which the CDC calls “an increased number.” In Minnesota alone, six children have been diagnosed since mid-September. The average for the state is less than one case a year.
“The majority of those affected are children under the age of 10, and there is no clear cause behind its spread since 2014, the CDC reported. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, symptoms include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs, sometimes following a respiratory illness, neck weakness or stiffness, drooping eyelids or a facial droop, and difficulty swallowing or slurred speech."
Doctors don't know a lot about this frightening disease and say there aren't any specific treatment protocols at this time - so your best bet is to prevent it, and the best ways to do that is to keep yourself generally healthy and to wash your hands OFTEN.
To learn about four-year-old Orville's Young's battle with the disease, watch the video, below.