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Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM): These Polio-Like Illnesses Are Spreading Quickly

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

man in a wheelchair

Story at-a-glance -

  • A rare condition known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has been spreading across the U.S.
  • AFM targets the nervous system, including the spinal cord, leading to weakness in the arms and/or legs and loss of muscle tone and reflexes
  • From August 2014 to September 2018, the CDC received reports of 386 confirmed cases of AFM in the U.S.
  • Provocation poliomyelitis describes the increased risk of neurological complications known to occur if a person with a polio virus infection receives an injury to a skeletal muscle, which could include an injection from a vaccine
  • At least one expert has suggested if a polio-like virus is circulating in the U.S., the possibility of its provocation by one or more vaccines should be considered

A rare condition known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has been spreading across the U.S. Although it's still very rare, affecting less than 1 in 1 million Americans each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring what appears to be an increasing trend in this polio-like disease.

AFM targets the nervous system, including the spinal cord, leading to weakness in the arms and/or legs and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. In some cases, the condition may also cause difficulty swallowing, slurred speech and an inability to urinate. In the most severe cases, respiratory failure can occur if the muscles involved in breathing become weakened, requiring a ventilator for the person to breathe.


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