CBC News has learned that three cases of a rare, polio-like disease have presented at the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Children's Hospital since early September.
Despite the similarity in symptoms, all AFM cases have tested negative for poliovirus. The collection of information on suspected cases is relatively new, and states are not required to send the information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which began noticing an increase in AFM cases across the nation in August 2014.
"Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition".
Symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis usually include the sudden onset of weakness in the arms and/or legs or decreased or absent reflexes in the limbs.
"I feel like the CDC specifically, and our Departments of Health, need to go back, and look at these cases from before", Young said. The CDC does not fully understand long-term consequences or why some patients recover quickly while others continue to experience paralysis and weakness. This year the CDC has reported 62 cases in 22 states.
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Dr. John Christenson is a professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley's Children's Health in Indianapolis. However, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says that it is now hard to interpret AFM trends as data collection is new and mostly voluntary. "You can see enterovirus particles in the motor neurons."It's not proof, Tyler said. We had one case of that and that was just terrible". The CDC is also exploring environmental toxins or genetic factors as a possibility.
In the most severe cases, respiratory failure can occur when the muscles that support breathing become weak. "Everybody should have a flu shot", said Christenson. On its website, the CDC says it's "concerned" about AFM, because of the seriousness of the illness.
In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death.
"You should seek medical care right away if you or your child develops any of these symptoms".
"Make sure you keep your children up to date on their vaccines", he said.