Health district confirms case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Spoka - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Health district confirms case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Spokane County boy

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SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -

The Spokane Regional Health District reported Wednesday that a boy under the age of 10 has acute flaccid myelitis. The diagnosis was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AFM is a rare syndrome with no specific cause, but the condition is not contagious. It affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. Symptoms typically include sudden weakness in one or more arms or legs, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes.

According to the CDC, the syndrome is one of several conditions that can result in neurologic illness with limb weakness. Such illness can result from a variety of causes, including viral infections, environmental toxins, genetic disorders and autoimmune disorders. Oftentimes, though, the cause of AFM cannot be identified.

“We wish we had specific recommendations for families who are concerned about this devastating syndrome, but there is not enough known about its causes,” said Dr. Sam Artzis, SRHD interim health officer. 

The Washington State Department of Health says there is no known connection between this case and the other confirmed cases in Washington State. Nationally, the CDC is investigating an increase in AFM in 2016 and intensifying its efforts to understand the syndrome’s causes and risk factors. One possible reason for the increase in cases is more awareness among, and reporting by, health care providers and health departments. According to CDC, as of September 2016, 89 people in 33 states were confirmed to have AFM. 

The Health District says that despite the uptick in 2016 cases, AFM remains a rare syndrome. and say less than one in a million people will be affected. In Washington state in 2015 there were no reported cases, and in 2014 there were two.

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