child with fever, acute flaccid myelitis

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 90 cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 27 states so far this year. Most of the patients afflicted with this polio-like condition are children. Some recover but many are left unable to move their arms, legs or head.

What Is the Cause of Acute Flaccid Myelitis?

The CDC suspects that one or more viruses are behind this devastating and untreatable disorder, but they have been unable to identify the specific pathogen. Parents and pediatricians have been critical of the CDC for taking so long to figure out what’s causing the problem. Cases have been reported since 2014, with significant numbers of youngsters afflicted in that year, 2016 and now in 2018. This every-other-year pattern is highly suggestive of a viral infection.

Investigators have ruled out both polio virus and West Nile virus. They have also ruled out vaccinations as a source of this condition. Most of the cases seem to follow a respiratory tract infection that includes a fever.

The CDC is investigating an additional 162 suspected cases to see if they meet the criteria for acute flaccid myelitis. Parents who are concerned about their children’s symptoms should immediately check with their child’s physician. There is no known cure, but supportive measures may be helpful.

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  1. Tommie S.

    The CDC was well aware that polio-like enteroviruses that were suppressed by the oral polio vaccine would spread once that vaccine was stopped. We are now repeating the consequences of a bad decision.

  2. Jack

    Wouldn’t it make sense to begin/increase the amount of Vitamin C, since this is recognized as a viral disease?

  3. Louise
    New Mexico

    Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is strongly reminiscent of a condition called “provocation paralysis” (also known as “provocation polio”) that was first recognized in the 1950s and early 1960s. Physicians began at that time to notice a correlation between certain medical procedures (notably, intramuscular injections and tonsillectomy ) and the subsequent development of paralytic polio.

    A paper in Lancet by Stephen E. Mawdsley, entitled “Polio provocation: solving a mystery with the help of history” (here’s a link: ) provides the full and very intriguing background information for this hypothesis.

    The current outbreak of AFM is probably not due to the polio virus per se, but may instead be linked to another enterovirus, EV-D68, the incidence of which has been rising worldwide since 2014. (see link here: Wild-type (i.e., endemic circulating EV-D68 viruses) can be introduced deeply into the tissues by medical procedures such as intramuscular injections, and can travel from there to the central nervous system, resulting in AFM. Routine childhood vaccination may not be the only procedure that is capable of introducing the ambient viruses deeply into the subcutaneous tissues, but it is certainly among the most common procedures of this type widely carried out on young children.

    That there may be a link between routine childhood vaccinations and the accidental introduction of AFM-causative viruses is clearly not a hypothesis that will readily be accepted by the medical profession. Anything that challenges the notion that vaccination is universally safe and desirable is de facto taboo, and is likely to be dismissed vigorously. As one retired New York pediatrician Allen S. Cunningham recently wrote in BMJ ( )

    “It is taboo to suggest a role for vaccines, but some old-timers remember “provocation poliomyelitis” or “provocation paralysis.” This is paralytic polio following intramuscular injections, typically with vaccines. PP was most convincingly documented by Austin Bradford Hill and J. Knowelden during the 1949 British polio epidemic when the risk of paralytic polio was increased 20-fold among children who had received the DPT injection (BMJ 2:1–July 1, 1950). Similar observations were made by Greenberg and colleagues in New York City; their literature review cited suspected cases as far back as 1921 (Am J Public Health 42:142–Feb.1952). I first became aware of PP 10 years ago while browsing through “Krugman’s Infectious Disease of Children” (page 128 of the 2004 edition).

    AFM may result from a direct virus attack on the spinal cord, or by an immune attack triggered by a virus, or by something else. If a polio-like virus is circulating in the U.S., the possibility of its provocation by one or more vaccines has to be considered.

  4. Ruth

    I have had frequent spells of vertigo for several years. Various tests and
    therapy treatments could not find the cause. One doctor said I was having
    migraines, a diagnosis with which I totally disagreed. But seeing info that
    migraine patients were often advised to take vitamin B2, I have been taking
    that vitamin for six weeks and have not had vertigo in a month. Has anyone
    else had that experience? Is it scientific?


    I think this new AFM is either polio OR a form of polio that has erupted from the old virus. Especially since it has almost identical symptoms, a mild respiratory illness, and fever consistent with a viral infection. Also it affects the nervous system the same.

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