A CLOSER LOOK: this is the year for AFM, a neurological condition that mostly affects children

A Closer Look

98% of patients with AFM here hospitalized; more than half were admitted to the ICU

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — “Uncommon but life-threatening neurological condition that mostly affects children and can lead to permanent paralysis,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) usually strikes on even years — such as 2020. The neurologic disease sets in the gray matter of the spinal cord. It is not spread person to person but it may be spread by a mosquito.

Parents should be aware between August through November if their child shows symptoms of sudden limb weakness, respiratory illness or fever, and neck or back pain, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, or slurred speech, according to the CDC.

CDC Vital Signs looked at the severity of the 2018 outbreak about this rare condition. The report includes U.S. patients who got AFM, reviewed test and imaging results and hospitalization data. This information can help doctors if there should be an outbreak this year.

In 2018 there were 238 confirmed cases in 42 states.

  • Arkansas 3
  • Texas 31
  • Oklahoma 4
  • Louisiana 3
  • Mississippi 1
  • Tennessee 3
  • Missouri 4
  • Kansas 1

The CDC began tracking the disease in 2014 and have confirmed 630 cases nationally. AFM cases tend to increase mostly in young children every two years.

Enteroviruses (EV-D68) are likely responsible for the increase in cases every two years.


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