Third child this year admitted to CHEO with AFM

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. The Canadian Press Images/Francis Vachon

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) confirmed Friday reports that a patient was admitted to the hospital in mid-December with Acute Flaccid Myelitis

According to a CHEO spokesperson, the child was admitted upon arrival. The boy, a toddler, had been experiencing mild paralysis in one of his arms.

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A MRI of the boy did show patterns of AFM. The condition affects the nervous system and can cause weakness in the muscles due to inflammation near the spinal cord.

According Health Canada, AFM can be caused by auto immune diseases or exposure to environmental toxins.

It can also be caused by a number of different infections, including enteroviruses or West Nile virus. Sometimes the condition can even have no known cause.

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“Parents should remember that AFM is a very rare condition. They shouldn’t worry or change how they care for illnesses with common cold or flu-like symptoms, like fever and aching muscles, as there is no way to predict AFM,” said Dr. Asif Doja, chief of neurology at CHEO. “Parents will absolutely know when to go to the hospital because the symptoms of this extremely rare disease are dramatic and concerning.”

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The boy was discharged after a few days in hospital. While there is no specific treatment for AFM, according to the CDC the polio vaccine can help prevent viruses that cause it.

According to CHEO, this is the third case to hit the hospital this year, though this case was the mildest. There have been 38 confirmed cases in Canada this year.


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