One patient with AFM released, treated at MUSC

One patient with AFM released, treated at MUSC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/CBS News) - Officials with the Medical University of South Carolina say one patient with AFM, a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis, was treated and released.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states in recent weeks. Ninety percent of those affected are children.

MUSC officials released the information on the patient on Thursday when asked if they had any patients with AFM.

“We’ve seen one patient that has been treated and released,” said Tony Ciuffo with MUSC." We have no further information on the patient."

AFM affects the nervous system, specifically the area of spinal cord called gray matter, and causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak or even paralyzed.

The disease is extremely rare, with the CDC estimating that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year.

Health officials do not know what's causing the increasing number of cases of AFM. It's also unclear why the illness seems to peak in the late summer and fall.

"This is truly a mystery disease," Messonnier told CBS News. "We actually don't know what is causing this increase. For some of the previous cases we've identified one pathogen or another, but we have no unifying diagnosis."

While the cause of AFM is not clear, experts say it can occur as a result of a variety of viral illnesses including the polio virus, enteroviruses, West Nile virus, and adenoviruses. None of the U.S. patients tested positive for polio, a crippling and often deadly disease which was eliminated in this country thanks to the polio vaccine.

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