ShareThis Page
Health

CDC creates task force to address 'modern polio' cases

Renatta Signorini
| Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, 7:36 a.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a task force to investigate an outbreak nationwide and in Southwestern Pennsylvania of a rare neurological disease that can lead to permanent paralysis.

The agency announced Monday the acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, task force will investigate the cause of the disease after 106 confirmed cases across the country this year, including six locally . Three additional cases are suspected to have been caused by AFM, according to the Allegheny County Health Department.

The task force also will work to improve treatment and outcomes for patients with AFM, which is a rare condition that affects less than 1 in 1 million people annually in the United States. It’s been dubbed the “modern polio” disease because it can cause lifelong severe muscle weakness, loss of coordination, paralysis and even death.

A rise in cases nationwide began in 2014, according to the CDC. This year, there have been 106 confirmed cases in 29 states. The majority of those cases have been in children.

Locally, five confirmed cases have been in residents of Allegheny County and one Washington County resident.

The three suspected cases occurred in one patient each who lives in Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland counties, according to the Allegheny County Health Department. Officials there said no connection has been made between any of the cases.

The CDC’s task force is expected to submit its first report Dec. 6.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me