When nine cases of acute neurologic illness with an uncertain etiology were identified in the Denver, Colorado area in August, the CDC responded by putting forth on September 26 a Health Advisory, advising healthcare professionals across the U.S. to “be vigilant for and report cases of neurologic illnesses associated with limb weakness.” The cluster in Colorado coincided with a nationwide outbreak of cases of severe respiratory illnesses caused by enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). While the possible connection between these neurologic and respiratory illnesses is still under investigation, 70 cases of acute limb weakness have since been documented in 29 states.
To better direct clinicians and public health officials in the management and treatment of these patients, the CDC on November 7 released a document entitled, “Acute Flaccid Myelitis: Interim Considerations for Clinical Management.” Two faculty members from the Pediatric Division of the Department of Critical Care Medicine, Drs. Bob Clark and Dennis Simon, contributed to the document.
As outlined in a CDC press release, the document’s objectives were twofold: “to summarize the evidence for clinicians and public health personnel on methods of management and care of children with acute flaccid myelitis” and “in the absence of science-based evidence, to provide consensus expert opinion on management of children with acute flaccid myelitis, in areas in which evidence is sparse or nonexistent.”
The CDC document can be accessed here.
For more information about the CDC’s investigation of these cases of acute neurologic illness, click here.
Robert S. B. Clark, MD, is the Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics, and Associate Director, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research.
Dennis Simon, MD, is a T32 Scholar and Clinical Instructor, Department of Critical Care Medicine.