MUSC treats patient for polio-like disease


A patient was treated at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for the polio-like illness, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), according to officials at the Medical University of South Carolina.

"We’ve seen one patient that has been treated and released," said Tony Ciuffo, with MUSC.

While Ciuffo declined to release any information on the patient, more than 90 percent are in patients 18 or younger, with an average age of just four years old.

So far, 62 cases have been confirmed across 22 states, less than one in 1 million people.

"This condition is not new, but the increase in cases we saw starting in 2014 is new," states the Center for Disease Control.

The rare but serious disorder affects a person’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.

Neurological conditions like it have a variety of causes, such as viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed one case of AFM in 2018 in the state this week.

RELATED | A polio-like illness makes its way to South Carolina

"AFM is a rare complication primarily affecting children that can occur from not only a variety of viruses, but environmental toxins and genetic disorders as well. Unfortunately, the cause of many cases of AFM is not identified despite extensive testing. CDC has noted an increase in cases since 2014 and has been investigating, but no clear cause of the increase has been identified," states Laura Renwick with SCDHEC.

Despite its similarities to Polio, there's no vaccine available or a specific treatment for the disorder. Long-term outcomes are unknown.

While AFM in itself is not contagious, the CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people.

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