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Acute flaccid myelitis: Questions and possible answers

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By: Julie Cullen

By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today

Researchers are working hard to answer several questions about acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). Some recent information seems to be pointing the finger at enterovirus (specifically EV-D68 and possibly EV-A71 strains).

Currently, almost 600 cases of AFM have been confirmed in the United States since 2014. In a study published in Nature Medicine, researchers found enterovirus antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid of 70% of the children with AFM. By comparison, in a study of children with other neurologic conditions, enterovirus was found in only 7%.

The other questions researchers are trying to answer include:

  • Are the every-other-year AFM surges related to the enteroviruses or human immunity?
  • Why do the few AFM cases in off-peak years have more varied causes?
  • Many children are exposed to enteroviruses, so why do so few develop AFM?

Source: The New York Times

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