Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

There have been no confirmed cases of AFM in Vermont since 2014.

AFM is a condition that affects the nervous system and causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. While anyone at any age can get AFM, it mainly affects children. The Health Department is educating providers on what to look for and what actions to take if a patient comes in with symptoms consistent with AFM.


Most people will have sudden onset of arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Some people will also have:

  • Facial droop/weakness
  • Difficulty moving eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech

Onset of weakness is rapid, within hours to a few days.

Many patients had a mild respiratory illness or fever in the 1-2 weeks before developing AFM.

What should Vermont parents know about Acute Flaccid Myelitis?

If you suspect AFM, please contact your health care provider.

CDC Resources for Parents and the Public

How to Spot Symptoms of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Your Child

Acute Flaccid Myelitis Fact Sheet for Patients

What should Vermont health care providers know about Acute Flaccid Myelitis?

When reporting persons meeting the criteria for AFM, please make sure they meet the following criteria: acute onset of flaccid limb weakness AND an MRI showing a spinal cord lesion in at least some gray matter.* The Health Department asks providers to voluntarily report suspect AFM cases by calling 802-863-7240.

CDC resources for the Health Care Providers

FAQ by Clinicians and Health Departments*

Acute Flaccid Myelitis: Interim Considerations for Clinical Management

Job Aid for Clinicians*

*As of October 2020, the AFM position statement has been updated. Revised guidance including these updates has been posted.

CDC tracking of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in the United States

Visit the CDC AFM Investigation page to see a US map with the most recent case counts for each state. This map is updated every Monday.