Acute Flaccid Myelitis - What Is It?

Acute Flaccid Myelitis which causes paralysis has been reported in several children's hospitals in Eastern Canada

A mysterious neurological condition called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has made headlines in recent weeks: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there have been a confirmed 62 cases across 22 states in 2018 so far.

There are four possible cases of a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in MI.

Michigan has no confirmed cases but state health officials are investigating suspected cases originating in Ingham, Macomb, Oakland and Ottawa counties, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.

CBC News has learned that three cases of a rare, polio-like disease have presented at the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Children's Hospital since early September. Although infectious diseases that target the motor nerves and spinal cord can, in theory, affect anyone, Kassam said AFM has a particular "predilection" for children. Collecting information about patients under investigation for the disease is relatively new, the release stated, and it is voluntary for most states to send this information to the CDC.

Back in 2014, when enterovirus D68 was implicated in a number of cases, our neighbors to the north also saw quite a few AFM cases. AFM causes weakness in the arms or legs and generally occurs in children.

"Until you actually identify the virus or whatever microbial agent it is with a laboratory confirmation test you can not be 100 percent certain", he said. "Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year", the CDC says.

Despite the similarity in symptoms, all AFM cases have tested negative for poliovirus.

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The CDC has not confirmed the ten cases in IL are actually AFM yet, but IDPH expects confirmation in the next couple weeks.

"It's likely to be caused by viruses sometimes it's kind of a subsequent thing after a virus".

All four of her children had come down with a cold at the same time, but young Abigail's condition continued to worsen despite her mother's best efforts to keep her kids healthy.

While they have yet to confirm a source for the paralysis-inducing illness, doctors believe that all signs point to a virus.

In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death.

The CDC urges parents to be aware of this illness and to seek medical care right away if family members develop sudden weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms or legs.

Sutfin says parents should protect their children against mosquito bites, and make sure they are up to date on their vaccines, as well as encourage frequent handwashing.

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