CDC creates task force to find cause of spike in polio-like illness afflicting kids

By | November 20, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is putting together a task force aimed at finding and containing the cause of a spike of a rare illness paralyzing children.

The CDC said on Monday that the task force would include various scientific, medical, and public health experts to investigate why the illness, called acute flaccid myelitis, has increased in the U.S. over the past couple of years. There is no known cause of the disease, which affects the central nervous system.

“This task force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a release on Monday.

So far this year, there have been 106 confirmed cases of the illness across 29 states, and the vast majority have affected kids aged 18 or younger, CDC said.

There has been a steady increase of confirmed cases of the illness since 2014. In 2016, there were 149 confirmed cases, CDC said.

The latest outbreak has gotten the attention of Congress, too. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., asked the CDC in October to investigate why the illness was spreading there.