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Study: Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) Paralysis Linked to Viral Infections


Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a severe neurologic condition characterized by sudden onset of flaccid limb weakness, has been a concern since 2014, when an outbreak of 120 cases occurred. A new study, “Acute Flaccid Myelitis in the United States: 2015-2017,” in the November 2019 Pediatrics, found that AFM is most likely triggered by a viral infection, with no single type of virus identified as the cause. Researchers for the study, which is published online on Oct. 7, studied 193 confirmed and 25 probable cases of AFM in children from 43 states offering the most comprehensive summary of medical data about AFM in the US to date. Researchers found that cases of AFM peak every two years and strike in late summer or early fall, affirm that AFM is much more common in children, and also studied the role that viruses play in causing AFM. Researchers concluded that more studies are needed to assess risk factors, establish causality, and develop a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that lead to AFM.


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