- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in 22 states thus far this year.
Why this matters
- The polio-like illness mainly affects children and is rare overall (
- Historically, increase in AFM cases first noted in 2014; upticks again seen in 2016 and 2018.
- Seasonal clustering, with most cases reported in late summer and fall.
- 127 confirmed or suspected cases in 2018; the 62 confirmed cases span 22 states.
- Confirmed cases largely occurring in pediatric population:
- Mean age is 4 years;
- More than 90% of affected individuals ≤18 years.
- Risk factors and etiology remain unknown:
- Poliovirus not detected;
- West Nile virus not detected;
- Respiratory virus (enterovirus D68) temporally associated in some cases.
- Long-term prognosis varies:
- Some individuals make full recovery;
- 1 affected child died in 2017.
- CDC website will update number of cases every Monday afternoon and offers a provider tool kit containing information on AFM and instructions for reporting.
- In a telebriefing, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC, commented, “Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now. We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms or legs. As we work to better understand what is causing AFM, parents can help protect their children from serious diseases by following prevention steps like washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and using insect repellent.”