Health Department Warning - Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 8:00am

According to Maryland Department of Health (MDH), there have been several cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) reported nationally and five suspected cases under investigation in Maryland. 

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, which can result from a variety of causes. Practicing good hygiene is one way to protect yourself and your family from diseases that can cause AFM.

Most patients will have sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Some patients may also experience

  • facial droop/weakness,
  • difficulty moving the eyes,
  • drooping eyelids, or
  • difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech.

Rare symptoms include numbness or tingling in the limbs and being unable to pass urine. In rare cases, a patient may have difficulty breathing due to muscle weakness and require urgent ventilator support. If you or your child develops any of these symptoms, you should seek medical care right away. 

It is important that children experiencing symptoms of AFM are seen by a health care provider as soon as possible for evaluation and testing.

Attention parents and child care providers:

If a child under your care is experiencing any symptoms of AFM, have the child seen by his/her health care provider as soon as possible. Please contact your local health department for more information.

Fact Sheet for Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)  

Local Health Department‘s Communicable Diseases Division contact information

For more information click the Maryland Department of Health's link