Science and Tech


CDC Warns Of Uptick In Polio-Like Illness In Children This Fall

The CDC expects to see an uptick this fall in acute flaccid myelitis, which has no known cure.
Posted at 3:38 PM, Aug 06, 2020

The CDC is warning of a potential outbreak of a mysterious polio-like illness in children.

The agency says it expects to see an upsurge in cases between August and November of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

AFM typically begins with flu-like symptoms and can cause limb weakness, loss of muscle tone and, in extreme cases, respiratory failure. Some patients could develop permanent disability. There is no known cure.

The CDC says it's concerned the symptoms could be confused for the coronavirus and parents could be concerned about taking their children to the doctor during the pandemic.

Newsy's Lauren Stephenson spoke with health care expert Dr. Nancy Snyderman about the importance of parents seeking medical care quickly if their child experiences sudden muscle fatigue.

"It could be a very terrifying time for parents this fall. So a reminder: If your child has the sniffles, fever, vomiting, chills, anything that seems out of the ordinary, that is a prompt call to your pediatrician or the nurse on call so you can get intervention as soon as possible," Snyderman said.

CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement, "It is not known how the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures may affect the circulation of viruses that can cause AFM, or if COVID-19 will impact the health care system's ability to promptly recognize and respond to AFM."

The CDC began noticing an increase in AFM cases in 2014 and has seen an uptick in cases every other year.