Smoke Signals

Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

Sebastian+Rose+%2F+Getty+Images
Back to Article
Back to Article

Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

Sebastian Rose / Getty Images

Sebastian Rose / Getty Images

Sebastian Rose / Getty Images

Sebastian Rose / Getty Images

Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






  AFM, also known as acute flaccid myelitis, is a rare medical condition that causes unexpected and unexplained paralysis. It impacts the nervous system, especially the gray matter of the spinal cord, which can lead to weakened muscles, reflexes, and even death.

  According to USA Today, “Some symptoms of AFM include drooping face and eyelids, difficulty with eye movement and swallowing, and slurred speech. In severe cases, children might have trouble breathing and need a ventilator because of muscle weakness.”

  Its similarity to polio has attracted much attention. According to CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been 362 cases since 2014 and 116 cases in 31 states so far.

  Anna Weber (10), who wants to pursue becoming a geneticist, said, “The fact that there’s limited information on this virus makes it more dangerous. If one of my loved ones had this virus, I would probably react as if they had cancer. I hope that the patients with AFM will keep fighting.”

  The cause of most AFM cases is unknown, but the spinal cord damage is the type to be frequently caused by viruses. Patients have not yet tested positive for poliovirus and AFM is not linked to vaccines.

  According to CNN, Dr. Samuel Dominguez, the medical director of the clinical microbiology laboratory at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said, “The most common etiology is probably a viral infection that starts off the process, and there’s probably several different viruses that can cause acute flaccid myelitis.” Enteroviruses, a family of viruses, are suspected to possibly be the source, especially one called EV-D68.

  Although this disease usually occurs in children being more than 90% of its cases, adults are also at risk.

  Adam Spoerri, a newlywed from Wisconsin, shared his experience of being paralyzed during his honeymoon. According to People, the family wrote about his improvement. “The other day he was sitting up and scratching his leg. I watched him, with no walker, go up and down the hospital hallway with only the arm stabilizer kicking a ball with PT. He kept his balance the whole time and could raise both feet to kick. Previously he would have needed to hold the walker or someone holding him to do this and he would lose his balance a lot, especially when raising the less stable foot.”

  Depending on the patient, there are some that recover quickly while others may require long-term care. There is no specific treatment for AFM. Treatments that have been tried in the past include immunoglobulin replacement therapy, corticosteroids, plasma exchange, and antiviral therapy.

  Saron Beraki (11), who was informed about the virus, said, “Parents are probably really worried about whether their children will contract this disease or not because the chances of a child getting it is very high. I can also see how it would also be sometimes frustrating because you don’t see it coming and then your child becomes infected.”

  Although catching acute flaccid myelitis is a chance of less than one in a million, it is highly recommended to wash your hands, stay up to date on your vaccinations, and use insect repellent to ward off mosquito bites.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

Christine Nguyen is a sophomore staff writer for Smoke Signals. She enjoys listening to music, reading, and dancing. She plays tennis as well as the piano...

Navigate Left
  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    Stranger Shoved Into Road For No Reason

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    Paris Fuel Tax Protests

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    Theresa May’s Brexit Deal

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    Chaos Erupts at U.S/Mexico Border With Migrant Caravan

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    10 Year Old Saves Senior Citizens’ Lives

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    Kyrsten Sinema: First Openly Bisexual Female On Arizona’s Senate

  • News

    Newlyweds Killed Due To Helicopter Crash

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    Jair Bolsonaro Wins Brazilian Election

  • News

    Pipe Bombs Mailed To Democrats

  • Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation

    News

    American Troops Sent to Mexican Border

Navigate Right
The School Newspaper of West High School
Polio-like Virus Strikes Across The Nation