The UK Health Security Agency is currently investigating a national increase in reported cases of acute flaccid paralysis/myelitis in children and young adults over the last few years. In October 2018, there was a noted increase in reports of unexplained acute neurological symptom presentations, particularly Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) and Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM). AFP is a rare but serious neurological illness, mostly in young children, which is normally due to inflammation of the spinal cord, known as AFM. AFP/AFM is characterised by rapid onset of weakness of an individual's extremities, often including weakness of the muscles of respiration and swallowing.
Reported cases were investigated to exclude polio and identify other potential infectious causes, including non-polio enteroviral infection. Increases in AFP/AFM linked to enterovirus infection have also been reported in Europe and the USA.
Healthcare professionals are strongly encouraged to report any cases of AFP/AFM. Information on the reporting, investigation and management can be found here: gov.uk/government/collections/acute-flaccid-paralysis-syndrome
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