May 22, 2024

CDC Finds Low Number of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Cases in 2022

Despite an increase in the circulation of enterovirus (EV)-D68 in the United States in 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a low number of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) cases. This research, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on February 1st, examined trends in confirmed AFM cases between 2018 and 2022, as well as their clinical and laboratory characteristics.

The study, led by Dr. Erin R. Whitehouse of the CDC in Atlanta, noted that previous increases in AFM cases in 2014, 2016, and 2018 were associated with EV-D68 infections. Despite evidence of increased EV-D68 circulation, the number of AFM cases remained low in 2022. During the four-year period analyzed (2019-2022), the number of AFM cases ranged from 28 to 47 per year.

Comparing the cases to the peak year in 2018, the researchers found that there were fewer cases with upper limb involvement, prodromal respiratory or febrile illness, or cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis during 2019 to 2022. Instead, there was an increase in cases with lower limb involvement.

The authors noted that current trends do not provide clear indications of when the next increase in AFM cases might occur. However, they emphasized the importance of clinicians remaining alert to the possibility of AFM among children exhibiting acute flaccid limb weakness. When suspecting cases, clinicians should promptly report them to health departments.

AFM is a rare condition that affects the nervous system, particularly the area of the spinal cord called gray matter. It primarily affects children and can cause muscle weakness or paralysis. Since EV-D68 has been associated with previous outbreaks of AFM, monitoring its circulation is crucial for timely interventions and prevention measures.

The CDC advises healthcare professionals to maintain a high level of awareness regarding AFM and its associated symptoms, such as sudden limb weakness. Timely reporting plays a vital role in disease surveillance and response, enabling health authorities to identify and investigate cases promptly.

Public health efforts to raise awareness among both healthcare professionals and the general public have contributed to faster identification and management of AFM cases. Continued monitoring and reporting will be essential in detecting potential outbreaks early and implementing appropriate control measures.

In conclusion, the CDC’s recent research found that the number of AFM cases remained low in 2022 despite an increase in EV-D68 circulation. The study highlights the importance of clinicians being vigilant and reporting suspected cases promptly. By closely monitoring AFM cases and their associated factors, healthcare professionals can play a crucial role in preventing and managing this rare condition.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it