Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a condition that affects the nervous system and causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. While anyone at any age can get AFM, it mainly affects children. The Health Department is educating providers on what to look for and what actions to take if a patient comes in with symptoms consistent with AFM.

There have been no confirmed cases of AFM in Vermont since 2014.


Most people will have sudden onset of arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Some people will also have:

  • Facial droop/weakness

  • Difficulty moving eyes

  • Drooping eyelids

  • Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech

Onset of weakness is rapid, within hours to a few days. Many patients had a mild respiratory illness or fever in the 1-2 weeks before developing AFM.

If you suspect AFM, please contact your health care provider.


Information for Health Care Providers

The Health Department asks providers to voluntarily report suspect cases by calling 802-863-7240.When reporting persons meeting the criteria for AFM, please make sure they meet the following criteria:

  • acute onset of flaccid limb weakness AND

  • an MRI showing a spinal cord lesion in at least some gray matter.* 

Resources for Providers

*As of October 2020, the AFM position statement has been updated. Revised guidance including these updates has been posted.

CDC's Tracking of AFM in the U.S.

Click to View the Map

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