Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)
Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition. This condition affects the spinal cord and causes muscles and reflexes to become weak.
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Symptoms of AFM
Some people will also have:
Facial droop or weakness
Difficulty moving eyes or drooping eyelids
Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech
These symptoms can also include pain in the arms or legs. In rare cases people may also have numbness or tingling and/or be unable to pee. Severe cases of AFM can cause issues with breathing or even death.
Possible Causes of AFM
Most patients with AFM had a mild respiratory illness or fever with a viral infection before they develop AFM.
It is unknown why a small number of people develop AFM after a respiratory illness.
Federal CDC tested many specimens from AFM patient to try and narrow down the cause of AFM. For most cases, federal CDC did not find any pathogens in their spinal fluid.
All stool samples from AFM patients tested negative for poliovirus.
Prevention of AFM
Since the cause of AFM is unknown, there is no specific action to take to prevent AFM. You can decrease the risk of getting and spreading viral infections by:
Keeping up to date on all vaccinations
Washing hads with soap and water
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, toys, and doorknobs
Covering coughs and sneezes
Keeping sick children at home
AFM Toolkit for Providers
AFM Guide for Maine Providers (PDF)
Job Aid for Maine Physicians (PDF)
Federal CDC Vital Signs Report
AFM Frequently Asked Questions by Clinicians and Health Departments
Federal CDC Specimen Submission Information and Form
AFM Patient Summary Form (Word) also as PDF
CDC's AFM Website