Here’s the latest on the horrible affliction children have been suffering since 2014.
In 2014, a rare polio-like illness that attacks the nervous system of its often
young victims first emerged in the U.S.—an illness with no clear cause, according to health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, scientists at the University of California San Francisco say they’ve unearthed the most conclusive evidence to date that two viruses closely related to polio are to blame… Since 2014, around 600 children in the U.S. are thought to have developed AFM, but cases have been traced back as far as 2012.
These waves of AFM have followed a peculiar pattern, with cases spiking every two years like clockwork. In 2018, for instance, there were more than 200 reported cases of AFM, but only 22 this year so far.
The symptoms of AFM bear an uncanny resemblance to those occasionally caused by the polio virus. But thanks to routine vaccination, polio has been almost completely wiped out from the globe. Suspicion soon turned to the viruses closely related to polio, a group of germs called enteroviruses that infect us through food, water, and the air. Two in particular have been singled out: Enterovirus D68, which typically causes common cold symptoms in children, and A71, which can cause the rashy illness hand-and-foot disease.