While it may be frightening to think of your child being stricken by acute flaccid myelitis, there are preventive measures that can be taken and symptoms to watch for.
It's important to keep in mind there is about a one-in-a-million chance of getting AFM.
The cause of the disease is unclear but doctors do suspect it's triggered by a virus and it targets children.
Dr. Nancy Messonier, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “Ninety percent of the cases are in those less than 18 years of age. So it is a disease primarily of children."
Parents can keep an eye out for AFM symptoms like:
- Weakness and a loss of reflexes in the arms and legs
- Facial weakness and drooping - including the eyes
- Difficulty swallowing and slurred speech
If you see those, it's time to get your child tested.
When it comes to prevention, health officials say to stick with regular virus prevention routines like frequent handwashing and staying away from other people who are sick.