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Intense effort is underway to understand and prevent acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the agency pushes doctors to report symptoms early, per its new Vital Signs report.

Why it matters: Doctors continue to seek the cause of the serious neurologic syndrome after the largest recorded outbreak in 2018 — 233 patients in 41 states reported symptoms that often included limb weakness or paralysis. The CDC has expressed frustration in determining the source of the illness, as some but not all patients show evidence of enteroviruses, which are spread through the nervous system, in their bodies.

The latest: A recent preliminary report in the journal Biorxiv tested 100 children, 42 with AFM and 58 with other neurological conditions, using an experimental CRIPSR-Cas9-enhanced genomic test of cerebro-spinal fluid to look for viral evidence of infection by enteroviruses. Biorxiv is not peer-reviewed.

  • While still not definitive, the study found higher levels of antibodies from EV-A71 and EV-D68 in children with AFM than those with other neurological disorders.
  • CDC has ruled out polio as the enterovirus causing AFM.

Details: The CDC estimates that fewer than 1 to 2 per million children in the U.S. will get AFM every year. Based on the 2018 study:

  • The average age of AFM patients was 5 years old.
  • 98% were hospitalized.
  • 27% required machines to help them breath.
  • 11 cases in 8 different states have been confirmed so far in 2019.

The bottom line: The illness tends to spike in late summer through fall. If it follows its past history of spiking every other year, this year should show a smaller number of cases. The devastating illness currently affects a small number of people every year, but researchers are concerned it eventually could evolve into something more widespread.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
42 mins ago - Axios on HBO

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried mystified by value of NFTs

Crypto exchange FTX, valued last week at $25 billion, recently launched an NFT marketplace by selling an image of the word "Test" for $270,000.

  • FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" that he doesn't quite understand the appeal, but adds that he doesn't personally appreciate many visual arts.