Little Carter Roberts, of Chesterfield, Virginia, was a typical 3-year-old — playful, healthy, and active. But over the course of a weekend Carter went from his happy-go-lucky self to a paralyzed patient unable to move his arms or legs.
“He needed a tube to help him breath,” says his mother Robin Roberts. “Doctors were working really hard to try and figure out what was going on.”
At the hospital, the Roberts family was left with more questions than answers. Doctors considered a list of diagnoses from Guillain-Barré Syndrome to various other auto-immune diseases. Finally, after an MRI scan and hours of waiting, Carter was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) — a mysterious muscle weakness, similar to polio — that appears to be on the rise this year.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, as of August 2016, there have been 50 cases of confirmed AFM across 24 states. That’s nearly double over 2015, when 21 cases for the whole year were reported.