LANSING, MI – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that two additional cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) have been confirmed in Michigan for 2018.
The confirmed cases involve children in Ottawa and Macomb counties.
The state’s first AFM case was confirmed Dec. 5 and involves a child in Wayne County. A second case was confirmed in an Oakland County child on Dec. 12. Five suspect cases of AFM in Michigan remain under investigation, while one case was ruled not to be AFM by the CDC. The four confirmed AFM cases had onsets of illness between August and October.
The CDC had confirmed 165 cases of AFM in 36 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.
The cause or trigger for AFM is not yet known. To help protect yourself or your child from developing AFM, the CDC recommends:
- Getting vaccinated against poliovirus, which is one of the viruses known to cause AFM. However, this vaccine does not protect against other viruses that may cause AFM.
- Protecting yourself from bites from mosquitos, which can carry West Nile Virus, another cause of AFM, by using mosquito repellents, staying indoors at dawn and dusk and removing standing or stagnant water near your home.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
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.