Posted: Thu 12:14 PM, Dec 20, 2018
PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) – It is confirmed; South Dakota has its first case of acute flaccid myelitis this year.
The case, an adult whose name and residence was not released, was reported to the state Department of Health in November. The person had a mild respiratory illness with fever before developing muscle weakness. That’s when the person was hospitalized.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped verify the diagnosis.
“AFM is a rare but serious condition, most often diagnosed in children, that affects the nervous system, causing muscles to weaken. Most cases of AFM had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they develop muscle weakness, but no specific cause has been identified,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist.
AFM symptoms include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs. Other symptoms may include:
• Facial droop/weakness
• Difficulty moving the eyes
• Drooping eyelids
• Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech.
At this time, it is the only case of AFM in South Dakota.
In 2018, there have been 165 confirmed cases of AFM in 36 states. These 165 confirmed cases are among the 320 total reports that the CDC received of patients under investigation. More than 90 percent of AFM cases have occurred in children less than 18 years of age.
AFM can develop as a result of a viral infection and individuals can take some basic steps in order to avoid infections and stay healthy:
• Wash your hands frequently to limit your exposure to germs.
• Cover your cough or sneeze.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Stay up to date on vaccinations.
If parents see potential symptoms of AFM in their child, (for example, if he or she is not using an arm) they should contact their clinician as soon as possible. While there is no specific treatment for AFM, clinicians may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis.
For more information about AFM, visit the Department’s website: https://doh.sd.gov/news/acuteflaccidmyelitis.aspx.