155 possible cases of polio-like illness now under investigation by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday it is now investigating 155 possible cases of the polio-like acute flaccid myelitis.

The number of confirmed cases in 2018 has not changed, remaining at 62 across 22 states, including Pennsylvania.

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Acute flaccid myelitis is a condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, according to the CDC. The condition causes weakness in the muscles and reflexes in the body.

Since August 2014, the CDC has seen an increase in the number of AFM cases in the United States.

Most of the 386 confirmed cases of AFM from August 2014 through September 2018 have been in children, according to the CDC.

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While there has been an increase, the CDC estimates less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year.

Causes for the majority of AFM cases have not been confirmed. However, the CDC said there are a variety of possible causes, such as viruses and environmental toxins.

The following are symptoms of AFM:

  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs
  • Facial droop or weakness
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech