So far this year, there have been 106 confirmed cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis , or AFM nationwide. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control .
As a result and after public pressure, especially from parents with kids affected by AFM, the CDC has established a task force to investigate. A group of experts in the fields of science, medicine and public health will focus on finding out what causes the rare, polio-like illness.
Adam Spoerri is recovering from AFM. He is able to walk and has regained some of the movement in his arm, but his breathing is still labored four months after the illness set in.
"AFM is really rare, but it's still something that you should know to look out for," said Bridget Spoerri, Adam's wife. "If kids or adults are experiencing weakness after a cold symptom, they should go get checked out by a doctor because it's not normal to not be able to lift a limb just because you've had a cold."
Cases of AFM have been increasing since 2014, but this year has been particularly concerning with confirmed cases in 29 states. The CDC task force is scheduled to submit its first report December 6, 2018 at a public meeting in Atlanta. The group will be looking at ways to better detect, effectively treat and prevent AFM.
"I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our Nation CDC's commitment to this serious medical condition," said Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC Director. "This Task Force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions."
AFM affects the nervous system and can cause weakness or even paralysis in a persons limbs. Other symptoms can include facial drooping or difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech. See a doctor immediately if you notice any of those symptoms.