Another potential cause of AFM is a type of enterovirus called EV D68, Todd said.
Beginning in the summer and fall of 2014, an apparent increase in reports of AFM occurred in the United States.
Some patients have quickly recovered, but one child who contracted AFM - which affects the nervous system via the spinal cord - died a year ago.
Infection with many different viruses can cause neurological complications.
With no answers as to the cause, it's important for parents and caregivers to know the symptoms so they can get their child immediate care.
The cause for the rare condition is still unclear.
Diagnosis of AFM comes from symptoms and an MRI, CBS reported. The CDC says it counted 22 cases in 2015, 149 cases in 2016 and 33 cases in 2017.
The CDC says to be on the lookout for the onset of arm or leg weakness, and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.
It's a rare disease, but the CDC thought that they might glean more about the nature of the outbreak, as well as clues about how to contain it, by releasing a report to the public. "Ninety percent of the cases are in those less of 18 years in age", Messionnier told NBC News. But mysteriously no other country has reported the emerging every-two-years pattern seen in the U.S., Messonnier said.
For now, the CDC recommends preventive action: washing hands, staying up to date on vaccinations, and protecting against mosquitos, which can carry viruses.
Parents have reported that the limbs of affected children appear lifeless.
Rathore, the Jacksonville specialist, said he was not shocked at seeing a case this year. In extreme cases, paralysis and death can occur. He redirects redundant nerves from other parts of the arm or abdomen to replace those lost to the disease.
Rarely, people with AFM can suffer respiratory failure and require ventilator support when their breathing muscles become too weak. But treatments for the infection itself remain elusive.
On a Facebook page dedicated to the disease, one parent posted that her daughter was diagnosed with AFM four years ago after catching enterovirus.
Despite extensive laboratory and other testing, CDC has not been able to find the cause for the majority of the cases. It's the first such case at the hospital. But data on the efficacy of treatments is so thin that he says he is not sure whether the therapy is helping the boy or not. Polio is a very similar virus-and there's a vaccine to protect against it. The U.S. has had 386 confirmed cases since August 2014.
Besides viruses, officials are also considering environmental toxins as a possible cause, but so far, they have no evidence that a particular toxin is behind the cases.
Many local cases have been treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
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