Updated
May 14th, 2019

7 AMF Cases Reported in 2019

Acute Flaccid Myelitis is not caused by poliovirus, may be caused by certain infections known as enteroviruses

childrens hands on top of each other, playing a game

There have been 7 confirmed cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) in the USA during 2019, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 3rd. 

These new AFM cases were reported in the states of California, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia during 2019. 

This new data reflects a reduced rate of confirmed AMF cases when compared with the 230 cases confirmed during 2018. The state of Texas led 40 other states when it reported 33 AFM cases. 

Most importantly, the CDC says it is not aware of any AFM-related deaths in cases with illness onsets in 2018 or 2019. 

But, the CDC and state health departments are still investigating some of the reported cases, since AFM-related deaths were confirmed in previous years. 

Separately, the United Kingdom experienced an increase in Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases. As of February 26, 2019, 44 AFP cases had been confirmed during 2018. 

The term AFP subsumes additional causes of flaccid paralysis such as trauma, tumors, and immunopathologic disorders. 

The UK.gov says AFP is a rare but serious neurological illness which is normally due to inflammation of the spinal cord, known as AFM. 

The term AFM was coined in recent years, but the condition itself represents a subset of cases of AFP.

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Both AFP and AFM cause severe muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone in one or more parts of the body, says the CDC. 

AFM primarily affects children, but adult cases have also been reported. AFM is believed to be caused by certain infections, most of them viral. 

Most of these viruses are known as enteroviruses, which are common infections throughout the world. 

A particular virus of interest to the CDC is Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), which is one of more than 100 non-polio, enteroviruses. 

There has been considerable debate by health officials on whether EV-D68 causes AFP/AFM. 

According to the CDC, ‘it remains unknown why these viruses affect the spinal cord in only a tiny fraction of the population.

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The CDC says ‘it is work closely with national experts, healthcare providers, and state and local health departments to thoroughly investigate AFM by looking for possible risk factors and causes, figuring out why some people develop this condition, monitoring AFM activity nationwide, and updating possible treatment options. 

Moreover, the CDC is encouraging healthcare providers to recognize and report to their health departments all patients who they suspect may have AFM.