Polio-like Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) Found in 31 States | CDC Task Force Investigates
The CDC has confirmed 116 cases of a rare polio-like disease called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in the U.S. this year as of the date of this post. Found in 31 states as of Monday, over 90% of the cases involve children under the age of 18. For the most part, those affected were experiencing a mild respiratory illness before contracting the disease.
Acute flaccid myelitis affects the nervous system, specifically gray matter of the spinal cord. This weakens the muscles and reflexes, causing symptoms such as drooping of the face and eyelids, difficulty moving eyes and swallowing, and slurred speech. Limbs can become paralyzed, and in serious cases, patients can have difficulty breathing due to weakened muscles. However, although similar in symptoms to polio, all specimens taken from patients with AFM tested negative for poliovirus. The CDC will continue to study risk factors and causes for AFM in order to discern why some individuals contract the disease and others do not.