UPDATED 1:15 PM PT — Wednesday, August 5, 2020
The CDC has warned adults about a paralyzing condition that could affect their children this year. The agency sent out a warning about acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) on Tuesday.
New #VitalSigns: Since 2014, outbreaks of #AcuteFlaccidMyelitis (AFM), a serious paralytic condition mostly in children, have occurred in the US every 2 years. This may be the next outbreak year. Be alert for cases, especially in Aug to Nov. #knowAFM https://t.co/yoEx1Ye0oh pic.twitter.com/UGNlbve6pe
— CDC (@CDCgov) August 4, 2020
The last outbreak of AFM was in 2018. The illness typically peaks every other year.
Officials expressed concern that adults will be unable to recognize the polio-like condition or might hesitate to visit a medical center due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Adults have been urged to immediately take children to a doctor if they show symptoms of sudden muscle weakness in their arms or legs. The CDC remains unsure what exactly causes the illness.
“Most patients had a cold-like illness or fever consistent with a viral infection less than a week before they developed arm or leg weakness,” stated Dr. Anne Schuchat. “CDC will continue to investigate how enteroviruses, including EV-D68, might cause or trigger AFM.”
#AcuteFlaccidMyelitis (AFM) causes sudden arm or leg weakness, mostly in children. It can progress rapidly, requiring a ventilator for breathing. Read about AFM in the new #VitalSigns report: https://t.co/yoEx1Ye0oh. #knowAFM pic.twitter.com/3LApCkybGI
— CDC (@CDCgov) August 5, 2020
During the last outbreak, almost all affected children were hospitalized due to the severity of their symptoms.