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Acute Flaccid

Acute Flaccid Myelitis
Myelitis (AFM)
(AFM) Fact
Fact Sheet
Acute flaccid myelitis AFM is only one of a number of conditions that can result
(AFM) is aflaccid
condition myelitis (AFM) isillness
in neurologic a condition that affects
with limb weakness. the
that affects the however, a cause for AFM cannot be identified.
nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, which can
nervous system,
result from
specifically How
the a variety is AFM treated?
of causes. Practicing good hygiene is
one cord,
spinal waywhichto protectThere
yourself and your
is no specific treatmentfamily from
for AFM, butdiseases
a doctor who
can result from a specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses
that can cause AFM.
variety of causes. (neurologist) may recommend certain interventions on a
Practicing good case-by-case basis.
What are the symptoms hygiene of AFM? is one way How
If you or youris AFM
child istreated?
having problems walking or
to protect yourself and your family
Most patients will have sudden onset of limb from diseases
weakness standing,
There isorno develop
treatment weakness
for AFM, in anbutarm or leg,
a doctor
that can cause AFM. contact your doctorinright away.brain and spinal cord
and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Some patients who specializes treating
may also experience illnesses (neurologist) may recommend certain
What are the symptoms of AFM? How can I prevent AFM?
interventions on a case-by-case basis.
ƒƒ facial droop/weakness,
Being up to date on all recommended vaccinations,
ƒMost patients
ƒ difficulty will have
moving sudden onset of limb
the eyes, How can
including I prevent
poliovirus, is one way AFM?to protect yourself and
weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. your family from diseases that can cause AFM. Check
ƒƒ drooping eyelids, or Being up to date on all recommended vaccinations,
Some patients may also experience with your doctor to make sure your family is up to dateand
including poliovirus, is one way to protect yourself
• facial droop/weakness,
ƒƒ difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech. onyourall recommended
family from diseasesvaccines. that can cause AFM. Check
Rare • difficulty
symptoms include
moving the numbness
eyes, or tingling in the Youwith canyour
protectdoctor to make
yourself fromsure your family isviruses
mosquito-borne up to date
limbs and being unable to pass urine. In rare cases, a
• drooping eyelids, or such on all
as recommended
West Nile vaccines.
virus—another known cause of AFM—
patient may have difficulty breathing due to muscle by You
using mosquito repellent and staying indoors at dusk
• difficulty
weakness andwith swallowing
require urgentorventilator
slurred speech.
support. andsuch
can protect yourself from mosquito-borne viruses
dawn, whichNileis the prime period known that mosquitoes
as West virus—another cause of
or your childinclude numbness
develops any ofor tingling
these in the
symptoms, bite. Remove standing or stagnant
AFM— by using mosquito repellent and water from nearby
you and being
should unable to
seek medical pass
care urine.
right In rare cases, a
away. property to minimize the number of mosquitoes.
indoors at dusk and dawn, which is the prime period
patient may have difficulty breathing due to muscle
Youthat canmosquitoes
help protectbite. yourselves
Removefrom other or
standing known
How and require
is AFM urgent ventilator support.
diagnosed? causes
water offrom
AFM nearby
by— property to minimize the number of
A doctor can tell the difference between AFM and
other is AFMwith diagnosed?
a careful examination of the
washing your hands often with soap and water,
A doctorsystem
can telland
the the spinal cord,
difference betweenlooking
AFMatandthe •While we don’t
avoiding closeknow if it is
contact witheffective in preventing
sick people, and
AFM, you can—
location of the with
other diseases weakness, muscle
a careful tone, and
examination ofreflexes.
the • cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant, especially
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
nervous system, looking at the location of the lab testing of the ƒƒ wash
hands often
a sick personwithhas soap and water,
weakness, muscle fluid,tone,
and and
reflexes.nerve conduction
Magnetic ƒƒ avoid
Washing close
your contact
hands with sick
the right way people,
is one ofand the best
and response
resonance can be(MRI)
imaging verycan
be veryin diagnosing
helpful in cases things you and your children can do to protect against
ƒƒ clean surfaces with a disinfectant, especially surfaces
of AFM.
diagnosing cases of AFM. getting sick. Wash your hands often, and especially—
that a sick person has touched.
What causes AFM?
What causes AFM? • before your
Washing you touch
the right way is one of the best
AFM can be caused by a variety of germs, including
AFM can be caused by a variety of germs, including
going toyour
and the bathroom, blowing
children can your nose,
do to protect against
several viruses: changing
getting sick.aWash
baby’s diaper,
your handsor often,
andan animal, an
several viruses:
ƒƒ enteroviruses (polio and non-polio),
animal’s food, urine or feces; and
ƒƒ before you touch food;
• enteroviruses (polio and non-polio), •ƒƒ after
before and after taking care of a sick person or a cut
ƒƒ going to the bathroom, blowing your nose,
• West Nile virus (WNV) and viruses in the same or wound.
family as WNV, specifically Japanese encephalitis changing a baby’s diaper, or touching an animal, an
virus and Saint Louis encephalitis virus, animal’s food, urine or feces; and
ƒƒ adenoviruses. For more information on acute flaccid myelitis,
• herpesviruses, such as cytomegalovirus and ƒƒ before and after taking care of a sick person or a cut
Environmental virus,
toxins and
and genetic disorders may or wound.
also cause AFM. AFM
• adenoviruses. is only one of a number of For more information on acute flaccid myelitis, visit
conditions that can result in neurologic illness with
limb weakness. Oftentimes, however, a cause for AFM Last Review Date Feb 2016
cannot be identified.
U.S. De
National Center
Center for
for Immunization
Immunization and
and Respiratory
Respiratory Diseases
Diseases Health
Division of
of Viral
Viral Diseases
Diseases Control
NCIRDig 06/25/18