More Acute Flaccid Myelitis “AFM” Cases Reported:

Since our last blog post, a recent Polio-like illness has been reported among children in the US. As of October 11th this week, there have been 38 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis across 16 states this year, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC “The cause of most of the AFM cases remains unknown” .  The most worrisome factor is that they have not been able to determine the cause of the increase and who is at highest risk nor the long-term effects from AFM.   The CDC is closely monitoring the disease’s activity and they are working closely with health care officials to encourage the recognition and reporting of any suspected cases to their health departments.   In 2014, there were 120 AFM cases confirmed across 34 states largely due to a national outbreak of the severe respiratory illness caused by the enterovirus D68, According to the CDC, 362 additional cases have been recorded since then. Recognizing the Symptoms of AFM is critical to achieving immediate medical treatment for the disease, in the early detection stage immediate medical treatment can prevent the disease from further creating adverse medical conditions to the patient.

AFM Symptoms can include any of the following:                                                                                                                                                                                           The patients nervous system becomes affected, this is typical symptom in children. Other symptoms may include facial droopiness, weakness, slurred speech, muscle tone loss, difficulty swallowing and in sever cases, the illness may lead to paralysis. These symptoms are similar to those of certain viruses, such as poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses and the West Nile Virus.  Some people experience numbness and tingling from AFM, while others experience pain in the upper and lower extremities. Respiratory failure is the most severe symptom which can occur when muscles involved in breathing become weak. How to prevent AFM: According to the CDC,you can take the same precautions you’d take to avoid the poliovirus or the West Nile virus such as the following:

  1. Getting vaccinated
  2. Use mosquito repellents to avoid mosquito bites
  3. Stay indoors at dusk and dawn to minimize encounters with mosquitos as this is when bites are most common.
  4. Remove any standing or stagnant water near your home as much as possible, where mosquitoes can breed.
  5. Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water to avoid spreading germs and getting sick.

For more information about AFM, please visit: CDC > Acute Flaccid Myelitis

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