Dr. Mark Schleiss Helps Unravel AFM Mystery
Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) has been making headlines after seven Minnesota children were diagnosed with the disease. This has prompted concerns and questions from the public on what the disease is and how they can manage their risks.
AFM is a rare virus that affects the nervous system and causes muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak, eventually leading to paralysis.
"Acute means it comes on suddenly," said Dr. Mark Schleiss in an interview with Kare 11. "Flaccid means you lose control, usually of an arm, or sometimes all extremities in severe cases. Myelitis just simply means infection of the spinal cord, so that does sound scary."
While the disease is not a mystery and has had outbreaks in the past, that's not stopping the Masonic Children's Hospital, Children's Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC from collaborating to find a common linkage.
"A network is emerging of interested and concerned investigators who want to work together to try to understand this outbreak better," said Dr. Schleiss. "Trying to establish a network to test hypothesis about why we've seen this uptick all over the country this year."