Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention predicts the fatal Acute Flaccid Myelitis outbreak as per a report released on August 4, 2020.
What is Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)?
Acute Flaccid Myelitis is a neurological disease common in children, which primarily affects the spine. This occurs in a degeneration of muscle strength, which can often lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. In 2018, AFM resulted in the deaths of approximately 55 children in the United States.
The symptoms appear to be similar to Poliovirus, but studies based on specimens collected by AFM patients test negative for Poliovirus’s presence.
What Causes AFM?
The cause of the AFM disease is still unspecified. Possible viruses associated with AFM are Adenoviruses, Enteroviruses, Enterovirus A71 and D68, and West Nile Virus. Initially, Poliovirus was suspected to be a probable cause of AFM. However, post-2014, the specimens tested showed no signs of Poliovirus.
The Symptoms of AFM include
- Difficulty speaking and slurred speech
- Inability to move the eyes
- Inability to swallow
- Drooping of Facial Muscles or Eyelids
- Muscle tension and sudden loss of muscle strength
- Improper Reflexes
- The emergence of Respiratory complications, fluctuation in body temperature and rising blood pressure in later stages
- Discomfort in Spine, Arms, and Legs.
- Inability to Urinate
The CDC suggests parents, healthcare departments, and frontline providers prepare for AFM’s outbreak yet again in the United States. The cases of AFM surge every two years in The United States since 2014.
The officials train the parents and other healthcare personas to recognize the symptoms of AFM as soon as possible. Identifying the signs of AFM in the initial stages is crucial in providing relief. Timely recognition of symptoms is fundamental for respiratory obstructions.
Diagnoses and Treatment
The Diagnostic Techniques implied for AFM involve Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), sample testing of Cerebral Spine Fluid(CSF), Blood Tests, and Muscle and Nerve Reaction Tests.
There exists no structured treatment for AFM. Some techniques used widely are Movement Therapy, Ventilation for respiratory impediments, and transferring “nerves from a functioning site to the affected site”(Cleveland Clinic Medical, 2018).
Physicians recommend incorporating preventive measures into the daily routine as a safeguard against AFM- Regular washing of hands, timely vaccinations, avoiding mosquito-bites, and avoiding the sharing of personal commodities such as clothes, food, and utensils.
Advances towards the development of a vaccine have been in process. However, the disease’s ambiguous traits make Researching, and the entire circle of Diagnoses and Treatment inconsistent.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Tuned.