Health officials who are struggling with the sudden rise of children with guns or leg paralysis in the United States are investigating whether there is a virus or autoimmune disorder on Tuesday.
Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for National Immunization and Respiratory Disease at the control center, said that 252 cases of acute flaccid myelitis (MFA) have been investigated in the country since last week. and Disease Prevention (CDC).
So far, with 80 confirmed cases 2018, 2014 (120 cases) and 2016 (149 cases) compared with Messonnier seem to be at the same pace as in previous peak periods.
Since the emergence of the syndrome in 2014, more than 400 cases have been confirmed by laboratory tests.
A dozen cases were recorded in 2015 and 2017.
Messonnier said he understood the parents' alarm, but stressed that the disorder was still "rare" in terms of frequency.
Most cases occur in children aged between two and eight years. Nearly everyone suffered from fever and respiratory disease for three to ten days with a sudden stroke in their arms or legs.
In some children the paralysis then disappeared, but at least half did not heal, said Messonnier.
The center analyzed 125 samples of spinal fluid and half of them were tested positive for rhinovirus or enterovirus producing symptoms such as fever, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches.
However, scientists are astonished about the exact cause of sudden paralysis, because these viruses are common, but not MFA.
"We're trying to find out what triggers are causing someone to develop MFA," Messonnier told reporters.
”It can be one of the viruses we've already detected, it could be a virus we haven't detected, or it could be that it triggers another process that activates MFA with an autoimmune process,“ he said.
"The CDC is a science-driven agent, and right now, science doesn't give us an answer," he added.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for parents is the absence of specific therapies or interventions.
"Parents and caregivers are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention for a child who develops a sudden weakness in their arms or legs," the latest CDC report on MFA published on Tuesday said.
Messonnier said the CDC has not followed all MFA cases since 2014, and that this has created some experts in the disease-related knowledge of the federal agency, and experts are now trying to solve it.
The report states that a child with MFA died in 2017.