Clinicians: Timing is Key to Rapidly Recognizing and
Reporting Acute Flaccid Myelitis Cases
Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a
rare but serious syndrome that causes limb weakness, mostly in children.
Three national outbreaks have occurred starting in 2014, when CDC began
surveillance for AFM.
patients developed AFM in late summer or early fall.
patients had respiratory symptoms or fever consistent with a viral
infection less than a week before onset of limb weakness.
believes viruses, including enteroviruses, play a role in AFM. Currently, there are no proven ways to treat or
Prompt symptom recognition,
specimen collection, and reporting to CDC are all critical
to improve understanding of this complex syndrome, including its risk
factors, outcomes, possible treatments, and ways to prevent it. AFM is rare, and there is no lab test available
yet to diagnose patients.
suspect AFM in patients with acute flaccid limb weakness, especially
after respiratory illness or fever, and between August and October.
patients immediately, collect lab specimens, diagnose, and begin
wait for CDC’s case classification for diagnosis.
clinicians recognize AFM early, they can quickly—
patients the best care, including treatment and rehabilitation.
lab specimens like blood or urine to increase understanding of AFM
and its causes.
suspected cases for prompt investigation and outbreak detection.
the appropriate health department and send lab specimens and medical
neurologists specializing in AFM through the AFM Physician
Consult and Support Portal for help with patient diagnosis and
CDC with any questions about AFM, including how to report cases and
collect appropriate specimens.
Departments Can Do
with CDC to collect medical information, MRI images, and specimens,
and classify cases.
information about AFM to clinicians and the public.
AFM trends and clinical presentation.
possible risk factors.
advanced laboratory testing and research to understand how viral
infections may lead to AFM.
long-term patient outcomes.
find more information about AFM from CDC in this month’s Vital
Signs or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) TTY: