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Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM): Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment


 What is Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)?

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is an emerging neurological disorder characterized by rapid onset of flaccid paralysis and a constellation of other neurological abnormalities. AFM is caused by an infection, a reaction to a vaccination, or an auto-immune disorder. Symptoms of AFM include weakness in the arms and legs, difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing, and loss of muscle tone or reflexes. AFM can be treated through physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as other supportive treatments such as medications and breathing support depending on the severity of the case.

What is Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)?
Acute flaccid myelitis

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition that affects the spinal cord and is characterized by sudden weakness in one or more limbs. The exact cause of AFM is still unknown, however, researchers believe it may be caused by a virus or environmental toxin. Symptoms of AFM include sudden onset of limb weakness, loss of reflexes, and facial droop. In some cases, muscle twitching and changes in speech or swallowing may also occur.

  1. Musculoskeletal system

  1. Human skeleton

  2. Joints

  3. Ligaments

  4. Muscular system

  5. Tendons

Medical terms

  • Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is an acute neurological condition that affects the spinal cord, causing weakness in the arms and legs. It is believed to be caused by an autoimmune response to a viral infection; however, the exact cause of the condition remains unknown. AFM has been identified in several countries, including the United States, Canada, and several European countries. While AFM is rare, it can cause severe disability and even death in some cases.

  • Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a serious neurological condition that affects the cells of the spinal cord. The condition’s onset is characterized by sudden weakness in the arms or legs, loss of muscle tone, and a decreased ability to move the affected area. In some cases, AFM can lead to partial or total paralysis in some patients. Oftentimes, AFM can take several weeks to diagnose and start treatment.

Symptoms Acute flaccid myelitis

The maximum commonplace signs and signs and symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis consist of:

  • Sudden arm or leg weak point

  • Sudden lack of muscle tone

  • Sudden loss of reflexes

Other feasible signs and signs and symptoms encompass:

  • Difficulty transferring the eyes or drooping eyelids

  • Facial slump or weakness

  • Difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech

  • Pain inside the fingers, legs, neck or back

Uncommon signs and symptoms might include:

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Inability to bypass urine

  • Severe signs involve respiratory failure, due to the muscle tissues worried in breathing becoming weak. It's additionally viable to experience lifestyles-threatening body temperature adjustments and blood pressure instability.

When to peer a physician

If you or your toddler has any of the symptoms or signs indexed above, search for hospital therapy as quickly as possible.

Causes Acute flaccid myelitis

Acute flaccid myelitis might be as a result of an infection with a form of virus called an enterovirus. Respiratory ailments and fever from enteroviruses are commonplace — specifically in kids. Most human beings get better. It's no longer clear why some human beings with an enterovirus contamination develop acute flaccid myelitis.


In the US many viruses, inclusive of enteroviruses, circulate between August and November. This is when acute flaccid myelitis outbreaks tend to arise.


The symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis can appear similar to the ones of the viral ailment polio. But none of the extreme flaccid myelitis cases within the United States had been because of poliovirus.

Risk factors Acute flaccid myelitis

Acute flaccid myelitis particularly affects young kids.

Complications Acute flaccid myelitis

Muscle weak spots resulting from acute flaccid myelitis can last for months to years.


Prevention Acute flaccid myelitis

There's no precise manner to save you acute flaccid myelitis. However, preventing viral contamination can help lessen the threat of growing acute flaccid myelitis.


Take those steps to help shield yourself or your child from getting or spreading a viral infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently with cleaning soap and water.

  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed arms.

  • Avoid near touch with people who are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve.

  • Keep ill kids at home.

Does Acute flaccid myelitis paralysis go away?

  • AFM, which stands for Acute Flaccid Myelitis, is an illness caused by a virus similar to a poliovirus that affects the nerve cells of the spinal cord, leading to paralysis. The virus that causes AFM is rare, and its cause is not fully understood. The paralysis caused by AFM can include weakness in the arms and legs, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty speaking. Thankfully, most people who are affected by AFM can eventually recover their strength, although it may take months or even years for them to do so.

  • Recent research has been conducted to determine the effects of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) on mobility and movement. A common symptom of AFM is paralysis in certain parts of the body, leading to some patients wondering if the paralysis is reversible and if it will go away. While some experts have suggested that the paralysis can lessen over time, it is important to note that it is currently not known if the paralysis is permanent or not.  Additionally, depending on the level of damage caused by AFM, physical therapies may be necessary to help regain muscle control.

Can you fully recover from Acute flaccid myelitis ?

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord and is one of the most serious forms of neurological damage. AFM was first reported in 2014 and has been the subject of ongoing medical studies ever since. Most people with AFM will have varying degrees of motor function problems, such as weakness or paralysis in arms or legs. Fortunately, some patients have made full recoveries, although this is thought to be quite rare.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system of children and adults. It is believed to be caused by an infection with a virus, although the exact cause is unknown. The symptoms vary greatly, but generally involve sudden onset of weakness in one or more limbs, along with a loss of muscle tone and reflexes. In some cases, the person may recover from AFM completely, while in other cases, it may lead to long-term paralysis and other neurological impairments.

Diagnosis Acute flaccid myelitis

To diagnose acute flaccid myelitis, the doctor starts with a thorough medical history and bodily examination. The health practitioner may suggest:

  • Examining the frightened device. The medical doctor examines the locations in the body where you or your baby has weak points, bad muscle tone and reduced reflexes.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This imaging test lets in the health practitioner to study the mind and spinal wire.

  • Lab checks. The physician would possibly take samples of the fluid around the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid), respiration fluid, blood, and stool for lab testing.

  • A nerve check. This check can take a look at how rapidly an electrical impulse acts through the nerves and the response of muscle mass to messages from the nerves.

Acute flaccid myelitis may be hard to diagnose because it shares the various identical symptoms as different neurological illnesses, including Guillain-Barre syndrome. These tests can help distinguish acute flaccid myelitis from other conditions.

Treatment Acute flaccid myelitis

Currently, there may be no unique treatment for acute flaccid myelitis. Treatment is aimed toward dealing with symptoms.


A physician who focuses on treating mind and spinal twine ailments (neurologist) may suggest bodily or occupational remedies to assist with arm or leg weak points. If bodily therapy is commenced all through the initial section of the infection, it might enhance lengthy-time period restoration.


The doctor can also suggest treatment with immunoglobulin that contains healthy antibodies from healthful donors, capsules that decrease inflammation inside the body (corticosteroids) or antiviral tablets. Or the health practitioner may suggest a treatment that gets rid of and replaces blood plasma (plasma change). However, it is no longer clean whether or not these remedies have any advantages.

  1. Healthy foods for the musculoskeletal system
  2. Rehabilitation program and health tips for the musculoskeletal system

Preparing for your appointment

If you have symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis, search for immediate hospital therapy.

Here's a few records to help you get prepared for your appointment.

What you could do

Make a list of the following:

  • Signs and signs, which include any that appear unrelated to the cause for the appointment

  • Any medicinal drugs, together with vitamins, herbs and over the counter drug treatments that you or your baby is taking, and their dosages

  • Key non-public information, inclusive of recent ailments, tour and activities

Questions to invite the physician

For acute flaccid myelitis, a few basic questions to ask the medical doctor encompass:

  • Will extra assessments be wished for?

  • What are the treatment alternatives?

  • What are the blessings and dangers of every remedy?

  • Is there one remedy you experience that is great?

  • Should additional professionals be visible? What will that price be, and will my coverage cover it?

  • Are there brochures or different published clothes that I could have? What websites do you suggest?

  • Don't hesitate to ask different questions that arise to you.

What to expect from your medical doctor

The health practitioner is likely to invite you or your infant several questions. Be prepared to reply to them to permit time later to cover different points you want to cope with. The health practitioner may additionally ask, as an example:

  • When did you or your toddler first begin experiencing signs and symptoms?

  • Are the symptoms continuous or occasional?

  • How severe are the symptoms?

  • What, if anything, appears to improve the signs?

  • What, if something, appears to get worse the symptoms?

  • Did you or your baby have a viral infection within the past month?

General summary

  1. Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare neurological condition that can cause paralysis in one or more limbs. It affects the spinal cord and is related to, but not the same as, polio. Some people have reported full recovery after experiencing AFM, while others still experience long-term effects. Severe cases of AFM are more likely to have lasting effects such as limb paralysis or difficulty with speaking or swallowing, while milder cases usually have much better chances of full recovery.

  2. Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a rare neurological disorder that can cause sudden onset of paralysis and decreased muscle tone. While most people who are affected by AFM make a recovery, the degree of improvement varies significantly among individuals. Some may regain their full range of motion, while others may experience permanent or long-term disability. Early diagnosis and medical intervention are critical for making sure that patients with AFM receive the best possible care and recovery.

  3. Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a rare neurological condition that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. While there are no specific treatments, physical and occupational therapy can help with recovery. Rehabilitation is essential, as it can improve the patient's strength and range of motion. In some cases, symptoms have improved over time, but the results vary.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM): Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

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