Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

We have had a lot of questions from our families concerning Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM). We hope this information helps to answer those questions.

AFM is a rare condition that affects the spinal cord, causing the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. Symptoms include:

-Facial droop or weakness

-Sudden onset of arm or leg weakness or loss of reflexes

-Difficulty moving eyes

-Slurred speech or difficulty swallowing

The cause of AFM remains unclear but the most common cause is related to a viral infection, including enterovirus, adenovirus, or rhinovirus. Other causes include environmental toxins and genetic disorders.

There is no specific treatment for AFM at this time. We encourage you to call us as soon as possible if your child presents with any of the above symptoms associated with AFM.

We encourage parents to continue frequent handwashing, stay up to date on routine vaccines, wear insect repellant, and keep your children home from school or daycare if sick.

The CDC is continuing to monitor and investigate AFM cases and disease activity. You can find more information at the following websites:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/head-neck-nervous-system/Pages/AFM.aspx

https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/afm-surveillance.html

Remember, “AFM is very rare. A child’s chances of getting it are less then one in a million!” (per the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics)

Thank you,

Courtney Dudley, MD