Mississippi State Department of Health

Acute Flaccid Myelitis
Updated November 14, 2018


The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to receive information about cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a serious condition that causes weakness in the arms and/or legs. The Mississippi State Department of Health continues active surveillance for cases of interest of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).

The specific causes of most AFM cases are still being investigated. The CDC has not determined the causes of most of these AFM cases despite extensive lab testing. All of the AFM cases have tested negative for polio virus. There are several possible causes of AFM such as viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders. According to the CDC, AFM may also result when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys body tissue that it mistakes for foreign material.

AFM is a rare but serious condition. We are working closely with health care providers and the CDC to get more information.

AFM Cases in Mississippi

Mississippi AFM cases in 2018 (as of November 14, 2018):

  • Mississippi confirmed cases of AFM: 1
  • Mississippi AFM cases under investigation: 0

Mississippi AFM cases in past years:

  • 2014: 0
  • 2015: 0
  • 2016: 6
  • 2017:0

MSDH will continue to actively investigate patients of interest for AFM, send samples to the CDC for testing, and monitor disease activity. MSDH will continue to work with our health care professionals to increase awareness, provide guidance, and submit samples to the CDC to conduct lab testing to better understand the AFM cases, risk factors, and possible causes.

Health Care Providers


Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system, causing muscles to weaken. AFM may be caused by a variety of germs (including viruses), environmental factors and genetics. For additional information, see the following:


Most patients will have a sudden onset of weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms and legs. Some patients, in addition to the limb weakness, may experience :

Contact your health care provider as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms in your child. For example, if your child is not using their arm or leg normally.

What you can do

Take these basic steps to help keep you and your family healthy:

Health Care Providers

Information for clinical guidance, surveillance, testing, and reporting information for health professionals.

Links referenced
AFM information and updates from the CDC    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/
AFM in Your Child    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/infographic.html
AFM Fact Sheet    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/downloads/fs-acute-flaccid-myelitis.pdf
Interim Considerations for Clinical Management of Patients with Acute Flaccid Myelitis    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/downloads/acute-flaccid-myelitis.pdf
Acute Flaccid Myelitis Surveillance    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/afm-surveillance.html
Standardized Surveillance and Case Definition for Acute Flaccid Myelitis    http://www.cste.org/resource/resmgr/2017PS/2017PSFinal/17-ID-01.pdf
AFM Resources and References    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/references.html
Acute Flaccid Myelitis: Interim Considerations for Clinical Management    https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/downloads/acute-flaccid-myelitis.pdf

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

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