Acute flaccid myelitis: NIAID calls for a concerted research effort

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Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) presents significant challenges to both patients and researchers, and efforts to understand the condition must be accelerated according to experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID; MD, USA).

In a new perspective, published in mBio, experts review the re-emergence of AFM, a condition associated with recent infection, including by poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses, that causes sudden muscle paralysis.

The authors note that although AFM is a term coined recently, the condition itself represents a subset of acute flaccid paralysis – a long-recognized syndrome. In 2014, AFM re-emerged globally in an epidemic form, appearing to be linked with enteroviruses EV-D68 and EV-A71. Although epidemiological evidence implicating EV-D68 is growing, currently, it is not certain that EV-D68 is linked to epidemic AFM.

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