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CDC establishes AFM Task Force to investigate ‘critical public health issue'

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established an Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) Task Force amid the ongoing investigation into the polio-like disease.

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., announced on Monday the creation of the task force, which will aid in efforts to determine the cause of AFM and improve treatment and outcomes for patients.

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“The AFM Task Force will bring together experts from a variety of scientific, medical, and public health disciplines to help solve this critical public health issue,” a news release said.

Key recommendations will be made by the task force to the CDC’s Office of Infectious Diseases’ Board of Scientific Counselors.

Acute flaccid myelitis is a condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, according to the CDC. The condition causes weakness in the muscles and reflexes in the body.


Since August 2014, the CDC has seen an increase in the number of AFM cases in the United States.

Causes for the majority of AFM cases have not been confirmed. However, the CDC said there are a variety of possible causes, such as viruses and environmental toxins.

The following are symptoms of AFM:

  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs
  • Facial droop or weakness
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech