Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a rare paralytic disorder of children caused by viruses. AFM has come in waves every two years since the CDC started tracking it in 2014.
The peak months have been in August to November, and since the last outbreak was seen in 2018, CDC experts are concerned that we could see a similar trend in 2020.
Back in 2018, there were over 200 cases in 42 states. Experts say immediate recognition of the signs and symptoms is the key to preventing permanent disability and death.
Any sudden weakness or numbness of the arms or legs over the course of hours to days is cause for concern. Some children may experience pain in the arms, legs, neck or back. These symptoms may occur in the context of a recent fever or cold.
As AFM symptoms may overlap with those of COVID-19, parents should be on high alert this season. Hesitating to bring your child with sudden weakness to the emergency room during the pandemic in the case of AFM could make a difference in a child's life.