The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has awarded the University of Alabama at Birmingham about $10 million over five years to study acute flaccid myelitis, a rare but serious condition that causes muscle weakness and paralysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking the condition during an outbreak of 120 cases in 2014, and last year established a task force to help define its cause and improve patient outcomes. CDC experts are assisting in the study, which will address knowledge gaps outlined by the task force. While the condition’s cause is unknown, growing epidemiological evidence suggests that enterovirus-D68 could play a role. Earlier this month, CDC urged medical professionals to quickly recognize symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis and report all suspected cases to their health department. NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health.

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