Doctor: Wash hands to potentially avoid acute flaccid myelitis

28 October, 2018, 07:39 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Dr. Adam Kassam emphasized that AFM is very uncommon

This year, there have been 62 confirmed cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) reported from 22 states across the country.

Four children in MI may have a rare condition known as acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

Many more cases have been reported, including three in Georgia.

State and federal health officials are warning the public about the increase in the number of cases of AFM, but there is no known treatment for it. You are significantly more likely to be struck by lightning (about 1 in 14,600 people are, according to the National Weather Service) than to contract AFM, which affects less than one in 1 million people.

The number of patients under investigation is up from 127 patients on October 16, though no new confirmed cases have been reported.

"Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition". AFM causes weakness in the arms or legs and generally occurs in children. Midwest states make up 40 percent of all confirmed cases including IL with 10 confirmed cases.

Every AFM patient has tested negative for the polio virus, and no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.


"I feel like the CDC specifically, and our Departments of Health, need to go back, and look at these cases from before", Young said.

The CDC has not confirmed the ten cases in IL are actually AFM yet, but IDPH expects confirmation in the next couple weeks.

"What happens is that with time you build immunity", said Christenson.

The CDC said certain viruses, such as poliovirus and West Nile virus could lead to conditions like AFM. Environmental toxins or a condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys body tissue, could also be factors. But for other viruses, other types of bacteria that can cause an illness very similar to this, we do have ways of preventing them.

The Atlanta-based health agency is investigating into 65 additional possible cases.

She is talking about AFM, a rare neurological disease that often starts with symptoms of a virus and leaves children with weak limbs or paralysis.

"Make sure you keep your children up to date on their vaccines", he said.

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