Skip to Content

CDC Confirms 116 Cases of Rare Polio-Like Condition AFM in 31 States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 116 cases this year of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare polio-like condition that can lead to paralysis, the HuffPost reported.

The AFM cases occurred in 31 U.S. states, including 15 cases in Colorado and 14 in Texas. Twelve states have reported a single case.

Last week, the CDC announced it was launching a task force to investigate the causes of AFM and to improve treatments of the condition. Since then, 10 more cases were confirmed by the agency. There are an additional 170 suspected reports of AFM that have not been confirmed.

“I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our Nation CDC’s commitment to this serious medical condition,” said CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield in a statement last week. “This Task Force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences.”

The U.S. has seen an increase in AFM cases since 2014. More than 90% of the 440 cases reported in the last four years were in children under the age of 4, CNN reported. The CDC estimates “that less than one to two in a million children in the United States will get AFM every year.”

Though AFM is a rare condition, it is serious and affects the nervous system and part of the spinal cord called gray matter, causing the body’s reflexes and muscle movement to weaken, according to the CDC.

“A mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection” were seen in more than 90% of patients diagnosed with AFM since 2014, the CDC said.

While Colorado has confirmed the most cases, followed by Texas, it remains unclear whether there is a higher risk of AFM in those states, or if they were better at identifying and reporting it, according to CNN.