Updated
October 18th, 2018

Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported by 22 States

AFM cases now include 62 patients mostly children

child sleeping

New cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) are being reported from additional states, creating a serious situation, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The total number of AMF cases has reached 62, reported by 22 states in the USA, as of October 16, 2018.   

Most of these AMF cases continue to occur in children. 

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The CDC said from August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 362 cases of AFM across the USA. 

The CDC has tested many different specimens from AFM patients for a wide range of pathogens. To date, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients’ spinal fluid.  

AMF is a rare, polio-like illness, without a preventive vaccination available. 

The CDC says AFM is diagnosed by examining a patient’s nervous system in combination with reviewing pictures of the spinal cord and observing the weakness in muscles and decreased reflexes. 

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Still, CDC estimates that less than 1 person in a million in the United States will get AFM each year.     

There are a variety of possible causes of AFM, such as viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders. 

Being up to date on polio vaccinations is one way to protect yourself and your family from AFM, says the CDC. 

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. 

The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis (can’t move parts of the body). 

Polio can be prevented with the inactivated polio vaccine, which is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the United States since 2000. 

It is given by a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person’s age. Oral polio vaccines are used in other countries, says the CDC.