Possible Case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis


The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is investigating a report of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in a North Dakota child. This is the first report of potential AFM to the NDDoH.

AFM is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system, causing muscles to weaken. It can follow a viral infection, but environmental and genetic factors may also contribute to its development. For reasons not fully understood, AFM affects mainly children. AFM symptoms include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs, sometimes following a respiratory illness. Other symptoms may include:

•             Neck weakness or stiffness

•             Drooping eyelids or a facial droop

•             Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech

The NDDoH is working with the child’s health care providers to gather information about the case and will be sharing information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to determine if this individual does have AFM. This confirmation may take weeks.