Friday October 18, 2019

Paralysis Causing Illness In Children Baffles Doctors

Parents are urged to have their children take basic precautions, such as washing hands and using insect spray to ward off mosquito bites.

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Children inspect a Blue Morpho butterfly at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Oct. 3, 2018. Little is known about acute flaccid myelitis, but it is known that more than 90 percent of the confirmed cases are in children 18 years old or younger. The average age of patients is 4.. VOA

Federal and state health officials are baffled by a mysterious and rare illness that seems to target children, causing paralysis.

As of Tuesday, 62 cases of what doctors are calling acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in 22 states. Sixty-five suspected cases are being investigated.

“There is a lot we don’t know about AFM and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness,” Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday.

What is known about the illness is that more than 90 percent of the confirmed cases are in children 18 years old or younger. The average age of patients is 4.

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But what is particularly confounding doctors is that the number of cases spikes only every other year. Pixabay

Victims generally suffer from muscle weakness and some paralysis of the face, neck, back, arms and legs. The paralysis sets in about a week after the children have come down with fever and respiratory illness.

There is no specific treatment, and most of the victims recover. But the long-term effects are still unknown.

Messonnier called it a “pretty dramatic disease.”

Health experts have ruled out some causes, including poliovirus and West Nile virus.

But what is particularly confounding doctors is that the number of cases spikes only every other year — with larger numbers in 2014, 2016 and this year — and fewer cases in 2015 and 2017.

Also Read: The Woe’s Of Indonesian Children

Parents are urged to have their children take basic precautions, such as washing hands and using insect spray to ward off mosquito bites. Doctors are also urging that vaccines be kept up to date.

Any child experiencing weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs should be examined immediately. (VOA)

Next Story

Heavier Babies are More Prone to Childhood Allergies: Research

For the study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the research team carried out a systematic review assessing past studies in humans

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For each kilogram increase in birth weight of Babies, there was a 44 per cent increase in the risk that a child had food allergies or a 17 per cent increase in the risk that they had eczema. Pixabay

Parents, take note. Researchers have found that heavier babies are more likely to suffer childhood food allergies or eczema.

For the study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the research team carried out a systematic review assessing past studies in humans.

After screening more than 15,000 studies, they identified 42 that included data on more than two million allergy sufferers.

“We analysed the associations between birth weight, corrected for gestational age, and the incidence of allergic diseases in children and adults,” said Kathy Gatford from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

“For each kilogram increase in birth weight there was a 44 per cent increase in the risk that a child had food allergies or a 17 per cent increase in the risk that they had eczema,” Gatford said.

According to the researchers, they analysed studies that included over 2.1 million people affected by allergic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, nearly 70,000 people affected by food allergies and over 100,000 people with allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

Most of the studies were in children from developed countries and most were European.

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Study Says that heavier Babies are more likely to suffer childhood food allergies or eczema. Pixabay

“Allergic diseases including eczema, hay fever, food allergies, anaphylaxis and asthma are estimated to affect 30-40 per cent of the world’s population,” Gatford said..

“It is increasingly clear that genetics alone do not explain risks of developing allergies, and that environmental exposures before and around birth can programme individuals to increased or decreased risk of allergies,” Gatford added.

ALSO READ: Cow Numbers in India Witnesses a Sharp Increase Since 2012

Most of the allergies in these studies were assessed in young children. (IANS)