201 AFM Cases Confirmed During 2018

Acute Flaccid Myelitis is diagnosed by examining a patient’s nervous system in combination with reviewing pictures of the spinal cord

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The number of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) cases confirmed during 2018 reached 201 in 40 states, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 18, 2019. 

As of December 31, 2018, the leading states reporting confirmed AFM cases were Texas (25), Colorado (16), Ohio (13), Washington (11) and several states reported 10 cases.   

These 201 confirmed cases are among the total of 364 reports that the CDC received as a Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) notice. The CDC and local health departments are still investigating some of these PUIs. 

In 2017, the CDC confirmed just 35 ARM cases from 16 states. 

AFM is a complex condition that is diagnosed by examining a patient’s nervous system in combination with reviewing pictures of the spinal cord, says the CDC.

AFM is difficult to determine why only some people go from having a mild respiratory illness (90%) to developing AFM, says the CDC.   

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The CDC says it has tested different specimens from AFM patients for a wide range of pathogens and viruses. 

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses (neurologist) may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis. 

For example, recent media reports during November 2018, Amy Moore, M.D., a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in peripheral nerve injury at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has developed a first-of-its-kind surgery to help patients with paralysis attributed to AFM regain function in their affected extremities. 

And, surgeons at Children's Hospital Los Angeles also have reported some success with nerve transfer surgery in children after AFM-induced paralysis. 

Further, the CDC published an updated “Interim Considerations for Clinical Management of Patients with AFM” in November 2018.