Acute flaccid myelitis has made headlines recently, but what exactly is this strange disease that affects children?
Using MedlinePlus' new health topic page, we break down what you need to know about this rare but serious illness that affects the nervous system.
It's a neurologic disease that affects the spinal cord. Neurologic diseases involve the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, which make up the nervous system.
- Symptoms include sudden arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.
- It often happens after a mild viral respiratory illness, like a cold, or a fever.
- Anyone can get it, but recent cases have been in children.
The condition is not new. However, there have been a large number of cases reported since 2014.
Enterovirus and West Nile virus can all cause acute flaccid myelitis.
If you suspect you or a loved one has acute flaccid myelitis, see your health care provider immediately. They may perform neurological exams and other tests if it is suspected.