CDC task force to investigate paralyzing illness targeting children

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Children who once were lively and active are dealing with forms of paralysis across the nation, including here in Texas. The Centers for Disease Control announced Monday it is establishing a task force to research what it believes could be the cause: Acute Flaccid Myelitis.

The task force will help nail down what exactly is targeting children’s nervous systems and causing weakness in one or more limbs. It also aims to improve treatment and outcomes for those patients.

Experts from scientific, medical and public health backgrounds will work to solve the problem, according to CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. They will make recommendations on how the CDC can respond to it.

“I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our nation CDC’s commitment to this serious medical condition,” Redfield said. “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.”

The CDC first saw an outbreak of AFM in 2014 and found it spikes every two years. So far this year, there have been 106 confirmed cases in 29 states. Fourteen have been reported in Texas, including two in Travis County and one in Hays County, as of the end of October.

The task force’s first report is scheduled to be submitted on Dec. 6. 

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