Why You Should Think Acute Flaccid Myelitis, Not Just Polio The Signs and Symptoms to Look for

October 6, 2022

A case of poliomyelitis in New York state suddenly has people talking about polio, but experts say clinicians should first think about the broader category of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) when evaluating a patient with a sudden onset of lower limb weakness.

Kiran Thakur, MD, a neuroinfectious diseases specialist and neurohospitalist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center-New York Presbyterian Hospital, said the case, while troubling, needs to be kept in perspective.

“For clinicians, what I think we need to emphasize is that paralytic polio remains extremely rare and that overall, most of the population has been vaccinated when they were children or young adults,” she said. “This is a vaccine success story—that it (the polio vaccine) is highly effective in preventing the neurologic compilations of poliovirus.”

As for lagging vaccination rates in recent years, she said COVID-19 may be partly to blame but she noted that “there are also pockets of the community that have been targeted by anti-vaccine campaigns and historically vulnerable communities have low vaccine rates that have nothing to do with COVID.” [read more]

Source: NeurologyToday