In an update on the acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) situation in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 90 confirmed cases of AFM in 27 states as of today.

Image/OpenClipart-Vectors via pixabay
Image/OpenClipart-Vectors via pixabay

These 90 confirmed cases are among the total of 252 reports that CDC received of patients under investigation (PUIs).

During a CDC press briefing Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director for the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases said, “CDC has tested 125 spinal cord fluid respiratory and stool specimens from 71 of the 80 confirmed AFM cases (the number of confirmed cases reported as of Nov. 5).

“Of the respiratory and stool specimens tested, about half were positive for enterovirus or rhinovirus, including EVA-71 and EVD-68.  The spinal cord fluid was positive in two cases.  One had evidence of EVA-71, and one had evidence of EVD-68.

“One of the cases was in an adult who was on immune-suppressive medication and the other was in a child who had very rapid progression of paralysis.

” It is important to put these two cases in context.  Since 2014, we have tested spinal cord fluid of most AFM cases, and in only a few have we identified a pathogen.  When a pathogen is found in the spinal fluid, it is good evidence that it was the cause of a patient’s illness.”

Officials note that there have been no deaths reported in 2018.

In addition, CDC officials said they have established an AFM task force of national experts in multiple disciplines to help us develop a comprehensive research agenda to further understand why AFM affects some children.  This task force includes multiple academic researchers and other partners who are looking into the trigger for AFM.