The CDC is baffled by the cause of polio-like disease, Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), affecting children in the United States. A reoccurring outbreak of AFM has been affecting Americans 21 and under since 2014. The CDC has recorded spikes in cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis each year between August and December. This year, the CDC is investigating 127 cases with 62 confirmed cases across 22 states. That puts 2018 right on track with 2014 and 2016.
The symptoms of Acute Flaccid Myelitis are weakness in the arms or legs, with possible facial drooping, difficulty moving eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech. Dr. Nancy Messonier, director of CDC’s National Center for immunization and Respiratory Diseases says, “It specifically affects the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, and causes muscles and reflexes to become weak.” The average age of those affected by AFM is four years old. The cause of this rare illness is still unknown, but the CDC continues to investigate. Read more about the history of Acute Flaccid Myelitis and the CDC’s theories of what causes it here.
Report any AFM findings from your clinic here.