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Health Highlights: Dec. 4, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Cases of Polio-Like Illness Now at 134, But Season May Have Peaked

The number of U.S. cases of a devastating polio-like disease striking kids, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), has now reached 134, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

However, this year's outbreak appears to have peaked and is expected to decline for the remainder of 2018, agency officials added.

The mysterious illness is thought to be related to infection with a common type of virus called an enterovirus. AFM can cause paralysis.

As of Nov. 30, there had been 134 cases of AFM confirmed in 33 states out of 299 cases reported to the CDC. This is an increase of 18 confirmed cases from the previous week, but most of the latest confirmed cases occurred in September and October.

Even though fewer cases are expected in coming months, health officials will continue to study AFM in order to learn more about the condition in order to better diagnose, treat, and prevent it in the future, according to the CDC.

The agency noted that there is a pattern of higher numbers of confirmed cases every two years. There were 120 in 2014, 22 in 2015, 149 in 2016, and 33 in 2017.

Most cases are reported between August and October, with significant reductions in November. That pattern appears to be repeating this year, CDC said.

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