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Gillibrand calls for 'emergency funding' to investigate AFM


U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on Congress to provide money to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the study of Acute Flaccid Myelitis. It has been affecting young children across the state and the country, and earlier this month the CDC established a task force to investigate AFM.According to the CDC, less than one in 1 million people get AFM each year, but cases have been on the rise since 2014. The illness causes muscles and reflexes to become weak after affecting the body’s nervous system.

"Doctors still don't know what causes AFM or how it spreads and there is no known treatment fo those who get this disease," Gillibrand said. "AFM can have symptoms that are similar to polio. It affects the spinal cord and, in some cases, causing people to become paralyzed."

The New York Democrat has written a letter to Congressional appropriators, asking for CDC funding in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill.

"This is exactly what Congress was able to do for other diseases that suddenly spiked over the last few years, including ebola, avian influenza, zika virus, which also affected young children," she said.

Oishei Children’s Hospital handled a case of AFM involving a 3-year old boy named Kameron in October. The CDC says at least 252 cases have been reported by 27 states, including 90 confirmed cases through Nov. 9.

NPR and WBFO's Nick Lippa contributed to this story.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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