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US doctors criticise CDC’s response to “mystery” polio-like disease in children

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 01 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4633
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

An unexplained polio-like illness that spikes in frequency every second year seems to be on course for a new record number of cases.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first publicised its concern about acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) two weeks ago, since which time the number of cases reported this year has climbed from 127 (62 confirmed) to 191 (72 confirmed).1 Cases have been confirmed in 24 states.

Canada also last week reported a sudden September spike in cases, raising the year’s total from fewer than five reported cases to 30.

Meanwhile, several doctors treating the disease, including four who advise the CDC on it, have criticised the agency’s response and its use of the word “mystery,” arguing that the evidence is enough to at least work …

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