CDC: Watch for Uptick in Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Kids With Severe Respiratory Illness

Physicians should be vigilant for an uptick in severe respiratory illness requiring hospitalization in children who also test positive for rhinovirus or enterovirus, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health alert.  

The agency warns of a potential increase in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) – a rare but serious neurologic complication involving limb weakness – as it reports a higher-than-normal proportion of children testing positive for a version of non-polio enterovirus (EV-D68) that can cause AFM.  

“Increases in EV-D68 respiratory illnesses have typically preceded cases of AFM, indicating that increased vigilance for AFM in the coming weeks will be essential,” CDC said.  

CDC cautions that rhinoviruses and enteroviruses can resemble each other and recommends lab testing “when the cause of respiratory infection in severely ill patients is unclear.” The agency also urges physicians to consider EV-D68 as a possible cause of acute, severe respiratory illness.  

The advisory outlines additional recommendations for physicians, including reporting clusters of severe respiratory illness, as well as possible cases of AFM, to local and state health departments. 

Last Updated On

September 13, 2022

Originally Published On

September 13, 2022

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