US officials worry paralyzing illness may grow more common

NEW YORK (AP) — A recent wave of cases of a mysterious paralyzing illness among children has waned. But U.S. health officials are accelerating their efforts to find a cause and a treatment.

In a medical journal article published Tuesday, some of the federal government’s top infectious disease scientists say the problem seems to be getting worse. They say additional, larger waves are likely.

Hundreds of U.S. families have already been affected. Children have lost the use of arms and legs and even the ability to swallow and breathe. Many continue to have trouble.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 228 Americans last year were confirmed to have the illness, called acute flaccid myelitis.

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