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The Non-Polio Illness That “Looks Just Like Polio”

Over the past five years, a rare and serious “polio-like” illness—called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) or acute flaccid paralysis (AFP)—has been cropping up in “unusual” clusters around the U.S., mostly in children. AFM/AFP cases have also been reported in Europe, India and other countries. AFM targets one area of the spinal cord (the gray matter) and can cause permanent disability and sometimes death.  Public health experts view acute flaccid paralysis as “the most common clinical manifestation of paralytic poliomyelitis”—and when laboratory analysis points to poliovirus as the cause of those symptoms, that person is diagnosed with “polio.” However, when there is no confirmed poliovirus involvement, health providers instead diagnose the condition as “AFM” or “AFP,” even though the clinical picture is identical to polio.  Read more...



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