Health Officials Confirm Case Of Acute Flaccid Myelitis In Macomb County Child

WWJ News
July 27, 2020 - 1:21 pm

(WWJ) Michigan health officials have confirmed the first case of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) for 2020, in a child from Macomb County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said Monday it has been notified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the case, and that two additional suspected cases of AFM in Michigan remain under investigation.

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No further details about the child — including age or hometown — were released. 

As of June 30, the CDC had confirmed 13 cases of AFM in 10 states for 2020, 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. In 2018, Michigan reported five cases and one case in 2019.

AFM is similar to polio in that it can cause cause permanent, sometimes life-threatening paralysis.

“AFM is a rare but serious condition affecting the nervous system and can cause the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Most patients report having a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before developing AFM.”

Most AFM cases. more than 90%. have been in young children.

The cause or trigger for AFM is not yet known. However, most children had a respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they developed AFM.

People can decrease tjeir risk of getting a viral infections by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • 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