AFM mainly affects children, and symptoms include muscle weakness in the arms and legs, respiratory illness, neck weakness and stiffness, drooping eyelids, facial drooping, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech, the Health Department said.
The CDC announced Wednesday that Acute Flaccid Myelitis has spread to 22 states, with more than 62 confirmed cases nationwide. Health officials aren't sure, and they have given no concrete information as to why the illness seems to peak in the late summer and fall.
The CDC is investigating 127 reported cases, including the ones that have been confirmed.
CNN did not have any reported cases in Missouri but our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported at least one child had sought treatment at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
"This is truly a mysterious disease", said Dr. Nancy Messonier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said.
The increase in cases has been happening since 2014, usually in August and September, but only in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said in a news briefing with reporters. Another spike came in 2016.
Health officials urge parents to be vigilant, as there's a lot unknown about the syndrome and what causes it.
The CDC said the West Nile virus, adenoviruses, poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses are also possible reasons why the illness has begun spreading.
"Although all cases are tested to see if it is tied to the polio virus and all have been negative, polio is a known cause of AFM", Nesemeier said.
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"A doctor can examine a patient's nervous system and the places on the body where he or she has weakness, poor muscle tone, and decreased reflexes".
Some patients recover quickly, while others experience paralysis and require ongoing care.
Messonnier said it was important for parents and clinicians to remember that this is a rare condition, affecting less than one in 1 million children under 18. There have now been a total of 386 confirmed cases since 2014. There was one confirmed death previous year, the CDC said on Tuesday.
As far as prevention, doctors recommend the polio vaccine but also say to practice good hygiene.
"So it is primarily a disease of the children", she said.
Unfortunately, there's no specific treatment for AFM. No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.
It's a debilitating, mystery illness.and it's spreading.
How can AFM be treated?
The CDC is not saying how many states have patients under investigation, only that it's more than 22. The state did not provide additional details.