—It is not clear if acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) will follow its usual pattern and if we will see a spike of cases in 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The disease affects the spinal cord and nerves, mostly in children, and has been linked to an enterovirus, CNN reported.
In an update Tuesday, the CDC said there has not been a spike of AFM in the United States so far this year and also said that the COVID-19 pandemic could affect the chances of a spike. That is because social distancing and improved hand hygiene encouraged due to the pandemic may reduce the number of AFM cases, according to Janell Routh, M.D., medical officer and lead for the CDC AFM and Domestic Poliovirus Team, CNN reported. The pandemic may also affect the ability to track the number of AFM cases.
In previous years when there have been outbreaks of AFM, cases have typically peaked in September, CNN reported. As of the end of June, there had been 13 confirmed AFM cases and 33 cases were under investigation, according to the CDC.