CDC Monitoring Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Since August 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has seen an increased number of people across the United States with Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). AFM is a rare condition affecting a person’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, causing weakness in one or more limbs. AFM or neurologic conditions like it have a variety of causes such as viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders.

The agency has not confirmed the cause for the majority of these cases but has been actively investigating existing AFM cases and continues to receive information about suspected AFM cases. Below are some things to note:

  • CDC is concerned about AFM, a serious condition that causes weakness in the arms or legs.
  • From August 2014 through September 2018, CDC has received information on a total of 386 confirmed cases of AFM across the US; most of the cases have occurred in children.
  • Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition. Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year.
  • While we don’t know the cause of most of the AFM cases, it’s always important to practice disease prevention steps, such as staying up-to-date on vaccines, washing your hands, and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.

Learn more and check out these resources for clinicians and the public.

About Kim Rodgers

Kim Rodgers serves as a Communications Specialist at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices, as well as partner tools and resources, in infectious disease and preparedness through NACCHO's communications channels, storytelling, and outreach to various audiences.

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