The CDC's Messonnier describes AFM as "pretty dramatic" and says the federal agency is escalating its response compared with that in previous years.
Officials began tracking the disease in 2014 when they received reports of 120 cases nationwide. Then in 2016, it peaked again with 149 cases in 39 states. That pattern appears to be repeating this year.
Seven cases have been confirmed in Minnesota and two in Wisconsin.
"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", Messonnier said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is warning about a rare mysterious illness affecting American children, which can cause "polio-like" symptoms. Her daughter, now five, has regained the use of all her limbs except her right leg, though she still has weakness on her right side and uses a wheelchair or walker to get around. Additional symptoms include facial drooping or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech. We did swimming to help him as well.
According to the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Nancy Messonnier, 90 percent of AFM cases since 2014 have involved people 18 years and younger.
The CDC has tested many different specimens from patients with this condition for a wide variety of pathogens, or germs, that can cause AFM.
Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that a case from the summer has now been classified as AFM.
"We are actually looking at everything".
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"I think I would tell parents to be vigilant in looking out for, you know, arms or legs not working, that floppy head, those respiratory symptoms that don't seem consistent with other basic illnesses", she said. None of the US patients tested positive for polio, a crippling and often deadly disease which was eliminated in this country thanks to the polio vaccine. Certain viruses that can cause AFM or similar neurologic conditions include polio, West Nile, and adenoviruses.
Medical experts have unable to find a cause nor have they been able to determine who is at risk.
USA health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of AFM. They also suggested that children stay up-to-date with their vaccines and practice good hand-washing habits.
But, if their child is diagnosed, parents should prepare for extensive physical therapy - therapy that isn't always covered by insurance, he said.
"Treatment options are quite limited", he said.
In some cases patients recover from the paralysis, but in others it continues.
All the uncertainties are frustrating for parents like Jenna Shumpert, whose son Hunter came down with AFM when he was just 15 months old. If it affects the diaphragm and disrupts breathing, patients may be put on a ventilator.
Mitchel Seruya, a surgeon at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, says when he has operated on children with AFM, he has been amazed by how unresponsive their affected nerves are.