By Gary Bass | October 31, 2018 at 3:13 PM CDT – Updated October 31 at 3:13 PM SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) – A case of a rare condition known as AFM that affects a person’s spinal cord has been reported in Smith County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. So far, 16 of the cases have been reported in Texas. Less than one in a million people in the United States will develop AFM each year. The full name for the condition is acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), according to a press release. “Acute flaccid myelitis is a very rare condition that affects a person’s spinal cord marked by the sudden onset of weakness in the arms or legs,” the press release stated. “There is no specific treatment for AFM, and the cause is unknown.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting an investigation to determine what causes the condition. “Possible causes include viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders,” the press release stated. “AFM is not required to be reported, but DSHS is asking all healthcare providers to report suspected cases of AFM to their local health departments.” The press release stated that AFM can be difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other neurological conditions. “All suspected cases of AFM are reviewed by the CDC to determine if they meet the case definition,” the press release stated. “It can take about a month for the status of a case to be determined.” Citing CDC data, the press release stated there has been a pattern of increased AFM cases in late summer to early fall of every other year beginning in August of 2014. Forty-three AFM cases have been reported since 2014, and most of the cases occur in children, the press release stated. In 2016, there were 19 reported AFM cases in Texas. Last year, there were five. Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.
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