Polio is a virus-induced childhood disease that causes permanent paralysis of the legs. A disease with similar symptoms reported in Michigan recently. Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare disease and it particularly targets the nervous system. This disease is particularly prevalent among children.
The first confirmed case of Acute flaccid myelitis reported in Macomb County, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service (MDHHS). They also look at the other two cases which are possibly AFM patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 AFM cases of children appeared during this year. These cases emerged across 10 states in the US. The cases of AFM in the US increased over the past six years. However, the CDC suggests that the annual cases of AFM in the US will remain less than 2 children in one million.
During the previous year, one case of Acute flaccid myelitis reported in Michigan and 5 cases in 2018.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun is the chief medical executive and also the chief deputy for health. She said that Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare disease of the nervous system. It is a serious condition that affects the functioning of muscles. Also, it leads to the weakening of reflexes in the body.
The patients who develop AFM experience a mild illness of the respiratory tract before the disease. They can also have a fever along with a viral infection.
The health experts do not yet know the cause behind AFM in children. But the scientists noted that the children who developed AFM had some symptoms in common. Most of them developed a fever and a viral infection. Later, they were diagnosed with AFM. There are some ways to cut down the risk of developing the disease.
The precautionary measures include washing the hands frequently. Also, avoid contact with the face if the hands are not clean. Contact with sick people should also be avoided to limit the risk of disease.
AFM is mainly found in children and the disease does not spread through contact. Many factors can lead to this disease which includes genetic risk factors and other environmental factors. It is a complicated disease and rarely found in children. Currently, there are rare cases of AFM in the US.
Currently, there is no particular treatment available for the patients of AFM. Neurologists suggest different therapies depending on the condition of the case. It depends on the muscles affected by the disease. They might suggest physical therapy to improve the functioning of the muscles.
Physical therapy at the initial stage of AFM is very important. It can help reduce the outcomes in the long term. Physical therapy also reduces the severity of the disease to some degree. The CDC is currently working with top health experts in the US to help treat this disease in children.
CDC will provide more information about AFM and update the interim considerations for clinical management. For now, there is no consistent pathogen detected which is responsible for this disease. The national experts are working to find a treatment for the rare cases of AFM in the US.