Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Information for health care professionals
Specimen collection | Patient summary form | Case definition | Report a case
Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. It can result from a variety of causes, including viral infections.  In Colorado, two confirmed cases of AFM were reported in 2016 and one case has been reported in 2017 (as of August 1st). Nationally, during 2016, 144 cases of AFM were reported to the CDC, a marked increase from the 21 reports received during 2015. In 2017, CDC has received information for 10 confirmed cases of AFM.  Even with the increase in cases in 2016, AFM remains a very rare disease (less than one in a million). Since 2014, the majority of AFM cases have onset of limb weakness in the late summer or early fall. 
Confirmed AFM cases reported to CDC: January 2015 = 1, February = 2, March = 1, May = 1, July = 2, August = 3, September = 1, October = 4, November = 2, December = 4, January 2016 = 1, March 2016 = 5, April = 1, May = 3, June =7; no cases reported in April 2015, June, September, and February 2016.

If you or your child appears to have a sudden onset of weakness in the arms or legs, contact a health care provider to be assessed for possible neurologic illness. You can help protect yourself from infections by being up to date on all recommended vaccinations, washing your hands often with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick people, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.


CDC Acute Flaccid Myelitis web page