Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Gillibrand calls for 'emergency funding' to investigate AFM

Gillibrand calls for 'emergency funding' to investigate AFM

Oftentimes, however, despite extensive laboratory testing, a cause for AFM is unable to be identified. Rare but serious, the condition affects mostly children and as yet has no clear cause. The exact cause of the illness is still unknown. The patient met some, but not all of the criteria for being a confirmed AFM case. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, called for them to approve emergency funding for the CDC's "AFM investigations, treatment, and prevention efforts". "This Task Force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences". The average age of those infected is 5, according to the CDC.

The disease can often start with what appears to be a common cold, but patients will then begin to lose control of their arms and legs.

AFM is one of a number of conditions that can result in neurologic illness with limb weakness.

Here, the Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that there have been 48 probable cases of AFM across the country in 2018 - 25 confirmed and 23 being investigated.


Medical experts still don't know much about the rare disease, which strikes just one in 1 million Americans. Multiple illnesses lead to acute flaccid myelitis, including West Nile virus, herpes viruses and enteroviruses like polio.

Last year, the CDC received information for 33 confirmed cases, and in 2016, it received information for 149 confirmed cases.

The children involved in this outbreak have tested negative for polio and West Nile.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses, may recommend interventions on a case-by-case basis. Although there is no cure for paralytic polio, about half of the small percentage of patients that develop this condition recover fully on their own, a quarter have mild residual weakness and about a quarter have severe permanent disability.Overall, the prognosis is better for younger children.

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