Two years after dozens of children became paralyzed following baffling respiratory illnesses, the CDC says it has received a “notable” increase in reports this year compared to last – a spike that appears especially pronounced since May 1.
Forty-nine reports of suspected acute flaccid myelitis – AFM -- were received by the CDC from January 1 in 22 states; 27 of those reports met the case definition and four more are probable, the agency said. Age of Autism reviewed an official alert containing the information. The CDC received only eight reports to that date last year, five of them confirmed. (Chart shows statistics January-June 2016 in orange compared to the year earlier.)
The average age this year is five, with the range from five months to 18 years. The dates of onset ranged from January 19 to July 23, with 20 of the 27 confirmed cases occurring after May 1, 9 of them in July. The agency said no single pathogen had been identified that linked the cases. It’s unclear how many cases may have occurred since July 23.
The original paralysis outbreak beginning in late 2013 affected more than 100 children and was associated in many cases with Enterovirus D-68, a member of the virus family which also includes poliovirus and usually circulates without causing severe illnesses. Age of Autism covered the outbreak extensively and raised the possibility that some of the cases – which began in California – might be linked to pesticides.
The apparent resurgence this year of the paralytic illness is concerning because, like polio, it could be following a fluctuating pattern and peaking in the summertime, suggesting a possible connection to crops and food.
Other troubling signs of pesticide exposure include the death of bee colonies, most recently millions of honeybees in South Carolina after spraying for mosquitos.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism, Mark Blaxill is Editor-At-Large.