Lansing, Michigan – December 15, 2018 – Lynn Sutfin of the Michigan Departement of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) talked about the first confirmed case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Michigan. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition. It affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. This condition is not new. However, the large number of AFM cases reported since 2014, when we first started our surveillance for this condition, is new. ”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was notified today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Michigan has a confirmed case of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). This marks the first confirmed case of AFM in Michigan in 2018. The confirmed case is a child from Wayne County.
Seven suspect cases of AFM in Michigan remain under investigation. As of Nov. 30, the CDC had confirmed 134 cases of AFM in 33 states, mostly in children. Despite increases in cases across the country since 2014, the CDC estimates that less than one to two in a million children in the United States will get AFM annually.
AFM is a rare but serious condition affecting the nervous system and can cause the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. Most patients report having a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before developing AFM.
Healthcare providers are asked to report all patients they suspect of having AFM to their local health department.
For more information, visit the MDHHS Communicable Disease Information and Resources website or CDC.gov/AFM.
What CDC has learned since 2014
- Most of the patients with AFM (more than 90%) had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they developed AFM.
- Viral infections such as from enteroviruses are common, especially in children, and most people recover. We don’t know why a small number of people develop AFM, while most others recover. We are continuing to investigate this.
- These AFM cases are not caused by poliovirus; all the stool specimens from AFM patients that we received tested negative for poliovirus.
- We detected coxsackievirus A16, EV-A71, and EV-D68 in the spinal fluid of four of 512 confirmed cases of AFM since 2014, which points to the cause of their AFM. For all other patients, no pathogen (germ) has been detected in their spinal fluid to confirm a cause.
- Most patients had onset of AFM between August and October, with increases in AFM cases every two years since 2014. At this same time of year, many viruses commonly circulate, including enteroviruses, and will be temporally associated with AFM.
- Most AFM cases are children (over 90%) and have occurred in 46 states and DC.