CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD, announces the establishment of an Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) task force to aid in the ongoing investigation to define the cause of, and improve treatment and outcomes for, patients with AFM. The AFM task force will bring together experts from a variety of scientific, medical, and public health disciplines to help solve this critical public health issue.
“I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our nation CDC’s commitment to this serious medical condition,” said Redfield. “This task force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences.”
The task force will convene under CDC’s Office of Infectious Diseases’ Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), and will make key recommendations to the BSC to inform and strengthen CDC’s response to this urgent public health concern. It will be coordinated by the office of the director and is scheduled to submit its first report at the BSC’s Dec. 6, 2018, public meeting in Atlanta.
AFM is a rare condition that affects a person’s nervous system, specifically, the spinal cord, causing weakness in one or more limbs. Beginning in 2014, the United States has seen an increased number of AFM cases, mostly in children. In 2018, there have been 106 confirmed cases of AFM in 29 states; all but five have been in children ages 18 or younger.