(10-22-18) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported 386 cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been reported since August 2014. The CDC has already confirmed 62 cases across 22 states this year, compared with 33 cases last year.

Four Ohio counties have reported cases of acute flaccid myelitis that have occurred in four counties, including Mercer County (no details released). Those four incidents were reported during the August and September time frame.

CDC officials have not identified what causes acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. Although described as a polio-like illness, each confirmed case has tested negative for polio virus.

The illness mainly strikes children. It can paralyze a child’s arms and legs. Some who are stricken need ventilators to breathe. It can also cause muscle weakness, slurred speech and difficulty moving eyes and swallowing.

Cases are exceedingly rare; fewer than one in a million children are affected. But for a small number of children, the results are devastating.