Acute flaccid myelitis “is a medical emergency …” August 5, 2020, 12: 00 PM7 min read
The Centers for Disease Maintain an eye on and Prevention issued a call to action to warn of a potential outbreak between the finish of this summer and winter of a rare, but potentially lethal disease that affects younger teenagers, where seeking medical attention legal away may perhaps make all the variation.
Acute flaccid myelitis “is a medical emergency that requires immediate recognition and care,” entreated CDC director Robert Redfield, on a convention call with the media Tuesday.
AFM is a rare, rapid onset neurological disease affecting the spinal cord leading to paralysis. Symptoms of AFM include surprising arm or leg weakness, situation walking, limb pain, back pain or neck pain. AFM can cause paralysis over the direction of hours to days, which may require a ventilator for breathing.
It most repeatedly affects younger teenagers. Parents are being asked to seek medical care immediately if a baby develops a surprising arm or leg weakness.
Most teenagers with AFM will have a fever or respiratory illness about six days prior to weakness happens. For this reason, AFM has been associated with viruses, and specifically one called Enterovirus D68.
Nonetheless why some teenagers get AFM and some don’t isn’t very but clear.
“We now have learned a lot, but we have a lot to learn about AFM … We are working at CDC and collaborating with the NIH on a couple of prospective large research, which is able to back us better understand risk factors for AFM,” said Redfield.
The CDC began tracking cases of AFM in 2014 and a wave of cases has happened every other year since then. In 2018, the US experienced the third and largest outbreak of AFM with 238 cases in 42 states between August and November.
The average age was correct 5 years extinct.
At least 98% of these teenagers had been hospitalized, and over half had been admitted to the intensive care unit, whereas 20% required a ventilator to breathe.
And whereas most parents sought medical attention within one day of developing AFM symptoms, a concerning 10% had been no longer hospitalized after four days of weakness.
While many teenagers will get better to their usual state of health after AFM, unfortunately, many younger other folks will have permanent disability.
“Early and aggressive physical therapy and occupational therapy can back toughen the functioning they are going to retain and sprint about their lives with the correct functioning that you can imagine,” said Dr. Thomas Clark, a pediatrician and CDC deputy director of the division of viral diseases.
With the 2020 peak season looming, AFM is a priority for CDC as it prepares for an outbreak this year.
“As a parent and a grandparent my heart goes out to the families affected by AFM,” Redfield said.
Parents ought to scrutinize out for any surprising weakness of the arms or legs in addition to pain in these areas, the neck or the back. If your baby lately had a viral cool or fever, this ought to heighten your suspicion for AFM.
Clark entreated pediatricians and other health care providers to “have in mind and properly acknowledge [AFM], hospitalize immediately, take specimens as soon as that you can imagine and characterize [the case] to local health authorities.”
If suspecting AFM, health care providers ought to reveal an MRI in reveal to distinguish AFM from other neurological stipulations.
“Or no longer it’s vital that all health care providers maintain a excessive index of suspicion for AFM in teenagers with acute limb weakness or neck or back pain that develops after an upper respiratory illness from late summer thru fall,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an Emergency Physician at Lenox Hill in Original York City.
“We request that AFM will seemingly have another peak in 2020. That said, or no longer it’s calm unclear if or how COVID-19’s suggested social distancing measures and attention to mask wearing and hand hygiene will impact how great enterovirus we finish up seeing, along with cases of AFM,” Glatter said.
The same hygiene precautions for COVID-19 apply to viruses that cause AFM.
As some of the symptoms of COVID-19 may overlap with AFM, parents ought to be on excessive alert this season.
Non-COVID-19 emergency room visits dropped off sharply in 2020 due to fear of COVID-19. If this pattern continues, parents want to know that time is critical and potentially lifesaving with AFM, so even in the age of COVID-19 seek medical attention immediately if your baby has surprising numbness in their arms or legs.
“We are concerned in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that cases [of AFM] obtained’t be recognized or that parents can be afflicted about taking their younger other folks to the doctor,” Clark said.
Molly Stout, M.D. is a dermatology resident at Northwestern in Chicago and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.