January 1, 2019 – AFM Cause?


Anchor lead: It’s important to get to the bottom of what’s causing acute flaccid myelitis, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Two viruses are the most likely culprits when it comes to acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, the condition that’s caused over a hundred children nationally to experience muscle paralysis. Matthew Elrick, a pediatric neurologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, have examined the clinical data and come up with a more precise definition.

Elrick:The rough estimate is that only about one out of every hundred children who get this virus will actually develop paralysis.  We suspect that one of the reasons may be that some children are genetically susceptible to developing the infection of the nervous system whereas others are not. The viral infection appears to be relatively widespread but the development of paralysis is rare and that pattern has been seen in some other viral infections as well that have been linked to genes, one of the major ones encephalitis as caused by the herpes virus. :32

The hope is that primary care and emergency department docs will be able to spot AFM earlier. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.