Mandatory Reporting Not Required for Acute Flaccid Myelitis; Parents, Lawmakers Working to Change

October 25, 2018 05:04 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday it's working diligently to find out why children across the U.S. are getting a neurological disease that's already affected more than a handful of Minnesota children.

The CDC said it's implemented an incident command structure, meaning people from multiple agencies are all focused on responding to acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

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"Help solve the mystery," Elaine Young, a Minnesota mom, said.

It's a mystery that's dramatically changed her now 4-year-old son's life.

"We all had an upper respiratory virus together, and 10 days later, his right arm was paralyzed," Young said.

So, Young is demanding answers.

"I feel like the CDC specifically, and our Departments of Health, need to go back, and look at these cases from before," Young said.

She is talking about AFM, a rare neurological disease that often starts with symptoms of a virus and leaves children with weak limbs or paralysis.


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 386 cases nationwide since 2014. Three cases that year were in Minnesota.

Fast forward to this year: 62 cases have been confirmed across the country. Six of those are in Minnesota.

Right now, more than 100 additional cases are being evaluated, including at least one in our state.

A group of local, affected families came together at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis on Thursday to raise awareness. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was there to listen to their concerns and shared the CDC's response to her inquiries about the disease.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced it's working with the CDC to figure out the big question: What's causing AFM?

"We don't have a vaccine, we don't have a special treatment," an MDH spokesperson said.

The lack of data, education and resources has Minnesota parents fearful, and upset.

"Yes it is rare, but it is happening more than the numbers say," Young said.

Right now it's not mandatory to have cases of AFM reported to the CDC or the MDH. Thursday, Klobuchar said she will push for required mandatory reporting and the states to review previous records.

Credits

Brandi Powell

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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