A second confirmed case of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a condition that causes muscle weakness, was reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The child, in the Sarpy/Cass Health Department jurisdiction, was hospitalized and later released.

Image/National Atlas of the United States
Image/National Atlas of the United States

Nebraska’s first confirmed case of AFM was reported in late November also in the Sarpy/Cass health department jurisdiction.

Another reported case in Douglas County was not confirmed after a thorough review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The patient met some, but not all of the criteria for being a confirmed AFM case. Two additional suspected cases are also undergoing further testing at the CDC.

“There is nationwide focus on AFM and state and local health departments are working with federal partners to help find answers,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “Every case reported undergoes a thorough investigation and extensive diagnostic testing which will help pinpoint exactly what’s causing this disease and how it can be prevented.”

  • AFM is a rare but serious condition that affects mostly children and generally causes sudden muscle weakness.
  • Symptoms include sudden weakness in the arms or legs. Some people also experience drooping of the eyelids or face, difficulty moving eyes, slurred speech or difficulty swallowing.
  • If parents see potential symptoms of AFM in their child, they should contact their health care provider promptly.
  • Experts are working to determine the exact cause of AFM.
  • There is no specific treatment for AFM or proven prevention strategy, but washing hands, covering your cough and staying home if you’re sick can help avoid illness.

As of Dec. 7, the CDC has reported 158 confirmed AFM cases in 36 states.