Acute Flaccid Myelitis case update

DHHS

A fourth confirmed case of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a condition that causes muscle weakness, was reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The child is from northeastern Nebraska and is currently hospitalized.

There have been three other confirmed AFM cases in Nebraska. One additional reported case is undergoing further testing and expert review at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DHHS will be updating state-specific case information as it becomes available at www.dhhs.ne.gov/AFM.

DHHS has shared information on recognizing, managing and reporting potential cases of AFM with health care providers and local health departments across Nebraska.

There is nationwide focus on AFM and state and local health departments are working with federal partners to help find answers. Every case reported undergoes a thorough investigation and extensive diagnostic testing which will help pinpoint exactly what’s causing this disease and how it can be prevented.

Fast facts about AFM:

AFM is a rare but serious condition that affects mostly children and generally causes sudden muscle weakness.

Symptoms include sudden weakness in the arms or legs. Some people also experience drooping of the eyelids or face, difficulty moving eyes, slurred speech or difficulty swallowing.

If parents see potential symptoms of AFM in their child, they should contact their health care provider promptly.

Experts are working to determine the exact cause of AFM.

There is no specific treatment for AFM or proven prevention strategy, but washing hands, covering your cough and staying home if you’re sick can help avoid illness.

People, especially parents, may be concerned about AFM. The CDC offers helpful resources at https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/index.html.

For Nebraska-specific case updates, go to http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/AFM.aspx.

AFM is not a new condition but the increase in cases nationwide starting in 2014 is new. From Aug. 2014 through 2018, there have been a total of 527 confirmed cases of AFM in the U.S.

DHHS started surveillance for AFM in 2014 after cases appeared in Colorado and made it a reportable disease in 2016.

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