Here's what you need to know about acute flaccid myelitis

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The other case of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, occurred in August, and four others are under investigation in MA.

He said he became aware of the illness in 2016, when Children's Healthcare treated a number of kids with the condition. So while it is a scary condition, it is also extremely rare and affects less than one in every million people in the United States - even with the spike in cases.

The Norton cases are believed to be the only ones in Kentucky to date so far this year. But recent news about AFM has caused some alarm among parents in Louisville.

Parents of a sick child should be on the lookout for any signs of weakness in the arms or legs, Pardo-Villamizar said.

At the press conference, Messonnier emphasized how rare the disease is. The CDC estimates fewer than 1 in a million Americans will get the disease. Between August 2014 and September, 386 cases have been confirmed across the U.S.

Another 65 cases nationwide are under investigation for AFM by the CDC. More than 90 percent of the cases reported so far are people under 18 years of age.

The outlook for patients with AFM can vary from a quick recovery to ongoing paralysis, Messonnier said.

Since then, Patterson, chairman of the division of Child and Adolescent Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, has seen several children diagnosed with what's come to be called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, a very rare disease that causes nerve-damaging inflammation in the gray matter of the spinal cord.

Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville confirmed that the 3-year-old girl was recently diagnosed with AFM, WFTS reported.

There is no evidence to support a "geographic clustering" of cases.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness", Messonnier said.

Most patients who get the polio-like condition are children and as we enter the cold and flu season, AFM is one more thing for parents to watch out for.

There is no treatment specifically for AFM, but affected children can undergo physical and occupational therapy to maximize their strength and adapt to their limitations. One of those cases is suspected of AFM and is being reviewed by the state. A doctor can examine a patient's nervous system and the places on the body where he or she has weakness, poor muscle tone, and decreased reflexes. Viruses that can cause the disease include poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses and West Nile virus. Enteroviruses cause common mild infections in children, such as hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis.

Since the CDC began tracking AFM in 2014, it's detected between 22 and 149 cases every year.

But the data reported Tuesday represents "a substantially larger number than in previous months this year", Messonnier said.

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