Acute Flaccid Myelitis is a rare disease with rapid muscle weakness in children which has been seen in hospitals in the United States and Canada this season. The Canadian Medical Association Journal has published the five facts you need to know.
The US experienced a rising number in the cases of the rare disease Acute Flaccid Myelitis, so a task force has been created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate this.
Five facts about the rare disease
•Acute Flaccid Myelitis is characterized by rapid-onset muscle weakness, with patients presenting with weak limbs, pain and absent reflexes.
• Enteroviruses are the main cause of the disease in children
• Urgent testing should be performed, including infectious workup and neuroimaging, and suspected cases should be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada
• Acute flaccid myelitis can progress rapidly and should be managed as a medical emergency
• It often results in persistent health deficits 4-6 months after detection, with less than one-fifth of children making a full recovery, and 8%-14% needing assistive devices to walk or being completely dependent on caregivers.
The prevalence of Acute Flaccid Myelitis
A recent research paper on the rare disease Acute Flaccid Myelitis said: “Acute Flaccid Myelitis is defined as the acute onset of flaccid paralysis in the setting of a longitudinal lesion of the spinal cord that affects primarily the central grey matter.”
It added:”Health care professionals and parents across the country are concerned for good reasons: the presentation may be subtle and easily missed, the differential diagnosis is complex, there are potential long-term complications, and no established effective treatments are available.”
According to Centers for Disease Control, “In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death.”