Daily Brief: 2017.1.11


Acute flaccid myelitis update

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between January 1st, 2016 and November 30th, 2016, a total of 120 people in 37 states across the country were confirmed to have Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). In 2015, the CDC confirmed only 21 cases of the rare illness.

Acute flaccid myelitis is a condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and can result from a variety of causes including viral infections. AFM is characterized by a sudden weakness in one or more arms or legs, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes. Numbness or other physical symptoms are rare, although some patients may have pain in their arms or legs. Children affected by AFM typically experience paralysis on most of their body and need a ventilator to breathe.
(Sources: CDCDaily Mail)

There is no specific treatment for acute flaccid myelitis, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses (neurologist) may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis.
(Sources: CDC)


  1. If a provider believes that their patient has symptoms of AFM, please fill out the patient summary form and report the case to your state or local health department. 
    (Source: CDC)
  2. Although a specific treatment cannot be recommended, an expert group of neurologists, infectious disease experts, pediatricians, immunologists, and public health experts convened in the fall of 2014 to arrive at a consensus document for clinical guidance
  3. If a health department has received a report of AFM, please contact CDC (limbweakness@cdc.gov), and please have the clinician fill out the patient summary form. CDC will work with you to confirm if the patient meets the case definition for AFM. 
    (Source: CDC)