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CDC Confirms Oklahoma Case of Rare, Polio-Like Disease

A medical doctor examines a patient with a stethoscope at a CCI Health and Wellness Services health center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, U.S., on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. After the failure of Republicans first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trumps subsequent threats to let …
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a case of “acute flaccid myelitis” (AFM) in an unnamed Oklahoma minor.

This summer the Oklahoma State Department of Health referred a case to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, “the CDC [has] categorized the case as AFM,” according to Department of Health spokesman Tony Sellars. “However, we have not yet received lab results.”

The OSDH has kept the identity of the patient confidential, saying only that they are under 18 years of age and that the case is not currently considered a public health risk.

Acute flaccid myelitis targets the victim’s nervous system, especially the spinal cord. Like polio, it often leads to paralysis. Unlike polio, however, there is no vaccine. Fortunately, the CDC says that only 62 cases of AFM have been confirmed in the United States — although six of them have been diagnosed in Minnesota within the last month.

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