First Acute Flaccid Myelitis Case Confirmed in Michigan for 2020

According to a story from, the state of Michigan has confirmed its first case of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare disease that tends to affect children, this year. There are two other potential cases of the illness that are still being evaluated. Though the cause of the disease isn’t entirely known, most cases tend to occur after a mild viral respiratory infection. 

About Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Acute flaccid myelitis is a condition that has only recently become known to science, and there is still a lot about it that remains unknown. This neurological disease can cause sudden symptoms, the most distinct of which is localized paralysis or weakness in the limbs. Scientists believe that this disease is most likely caused by infection of enterovirus 68. This virus is a close relative of poliovirus, which is the cause of polio and further suggests similarities between these illnesses. Symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis include acute limb paralysis, pain in the neck, limbs, or back, gray matter lesions (on MRI), difficulty breathing, and increased white blood cell count (suggesting inflammation or infection). There are currently no known treatments for acute flaccid myelitis; immune system altering drugs as well as other medications and procedures have been attempted, but none have seemed to have any effect. To learn more about acute flaccid myelitis, click here.

Limited Cases This Year So Far

Last year, the state had a single confirmed case of the disease and in 2018 there was a total of five cases. The CDC has reported a total of 13 recorded cases in the US this year in ten different states. Though these numbers clearly indicate that anyone’s chances of getting the disease are extremely small, the most effective preventative measures include frequent hand washing and good hygiene in order to avoid viral infections.

Despite its rarity, health authorities are doing their best to track cases of the illness closely as there have been concerns about an increase in cases in recent years. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requests that all suspected cases of the disease be reported as promptly as possible.

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