Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, which 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. In some cases, dysfunction of the nerves controlling the head and neck, resulting in such features as facial weakness, difficulty swallowing, or drooping of the eyes, may accompany the limb weakness.
About Acute Flaccid MyelitisDescribes the symptoms of AFM, known viral causes, possible conditions that can lead to it, recommendations for prevention, treatment.
AFM in the United StatesInformation about the 2014 investigation of acute flaccid myelitis.
Frequently Asked QuestionsAnswers to frequently asked questions about AFM.
For Healthcare ProfessionalsProvides the case definition, patient summary form, interim considerations for clinical management of patients, guidance for reporting cases, instructions for specimen collection and submission.
Resources and ReferencesLists selected scientific articles.
AFM in 2016
- CDC is working hard to understand what led to an increase in AFM cases in 2016. As of November 2016, 120 people in 37 states were confirmed to have this serious illness.
- CDC is concerned about AFM and the individuals and families affected. We are intensifying our efforts to figure out what causes AFM and puts people at risk.
- CDC urges healthcare providers to be alert for and report AFM cases to their health departments. We remind the public to always practice general disease prevention steps, like washing your hands, staying up-to-date on vaccines, and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
- Page last reviewed: October 3, 2016
- Page last updated: January 3, 2017
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