ID: 216
Category: Neurological Disorder
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Mar 2023
updatedon: 14 Mar 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Mar 14, 2023
Updated Mar 14, 2023

Table of contents

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Translated as: sudden muscle weakness
Acute - sudden
Flaccid - weakness
(Myo-) -  Muscle
(-itis) - disease

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare neurological condition that affects the spinal cord and can cause paralysis, particularly in children. It is believed to be caused by certain viruses, including enteroviruses and West Nile virus.

AFM is characterized by the sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone, which can progress rapidly to paralysis. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, neck pain, and difficulty swallowing or speaking. In some cases, AFM can also affect the muscles responsible for breathing, which can be life-threatening.

Causes of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

The exact cause of AFM is still unknown, but it is thought to be related to certain viral infections. Most cases of AFM have been linked to enteroviruses, which are a common cause of mild respiratory and gastrointestinal illness. Other viruses, such as West Nile virus and adenovirus, have also been associated with AFM.

Treatments for Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

There is currently no specific treatment for AFM, but early detection and supportive care can help improve outcomes. Treatment may include hospitalization, physical therapy, and respiratory support if necessary. Some patients may also benefit from antiviral medications or immunomodulatory therapy.

Prevention is the best strategy for avoiding AFM. This includes practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and getting vaccinated against viruses such as enterovirus and West Nile virus.

If you or your child develop sudden limb weakness or other neurological symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away. While AFM is rare, prompt diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and improve outcomes.


Sudden onset of limb weakness, especially in the arms or legs
Loss of muscle tone or muscle reflexes
Facial droop or weakness
Difficulty moving the eyes or swallowing
Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
Pain or numbness in the arms or legs
Loss of bladder or bowel control
Tingling or prickling sensations in the skin
Headache, neck pain, or fever (in some cases)
Muscle Weakness
Muscle stiffness
Difficulty swallowing
Shortness of breath

Confirmation Tests

- Reflex tests
- Spinal fluid analysis
- Blood test
- Stool test
- Nerve conduction test


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