AFM: Parents grow concerned as doctors find rare condition is on the rise

Lynne Adkins
October 13, 2018 - 11:15 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Parents locally and around the country are becoming more alarmed about a serious, but rare medical condition that leaves young children with paralysis.

AFM, acute flaccid myelitis affects the nervous system; it's seen mainly in young children and causes muscle weakness in the arms, legs and face.

Dr. Sarah Hopkins, a neurologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says it remains extremely rare, but it is on the rise.

"We were having two cases maybe every couple of years, so it was there in the past a little bit in the background," she said. "But then in 2014 we were up to five cases at C.H.O.P. and we saw even more in 2016."

Hopkins says it's believed to be caused by viruses which are seen in the fall.

There is no known treatment and most patients will recover some movement, but it could take years.