By: Lisa Washington
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Parents are being warned to be on the lookout for a seasonal outbreak of a rare, life-threatening condition that targets young children.
Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, is a polio-like illness that affects young children.
The Centers For Disease Control says that cases in the United States spike every other year.
In 2018, the last outbreak, there were 238 cases reported in the country.
The CDC describes it as a serious, neurological condition, causing muscle weakness and a loss of reflexes.
Most children affected had a respiratory illness or fever before developing AFM.
Doctors tell parents to be on the lookout for fever, pain or numbness in the limbs, gait difficulties, headache, difficulty talking or swallowing, and other symptoms.
As of July 31, 16 cases of AFM have been confirmed in the United States and 38 more are under investigation by the CDC.
According to the CDC, most patients have an onset of AFM between August and November hence why they are issuing the warning now.
A CDC viral disease expert explains the concern is that in the middle of a pandemic, cases of AFM may not be recognized or parents might be worried about taking their child to the doctor.