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Pediatr Neurol. 2016 Feb;55:17-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2015.10.007. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Recognition and Management of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Children.

Author information

1
Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah. Electronic address: gary.nelson@hsc.utah.edu.
2
Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.
3
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.
4
Department of Medical Imaging, Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah; Department of Radiology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In 2014-2015, several regions of the United States experienced an outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis in pediatric patients. A common, unique feature was disease localization to the gray matter of the spinal cord.

METHODS:

We report 11 children, ages 13 months to 14 years (median 9 years), in the Intermountain West who presented with extremity weakness (n = 10) or cranial neuropathy (n = 1) of varying severity without an apparent etiology.

RESULTS:

All children experienced acute paralysis, and 10 had symptoms or signs that localized to the spinal cord. Maximum paralysis occurred within 4 days of onset in all patients. All had spinal gray matter lesions consistent with acute myelitis detected by magnetic resonance imaging; no single infectious cause was identified. Despite therapy with intravenous immunoglobulin, corticosteroids, or plasma exchange, nine of 10 (90%) children had motor deficits at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS:

Recognition of this disorder enables clinicians to obtain appropriate imaging and laboratory testing, initiate treatment, and provide families with accurate prognostic information. In contrast to other causes of acute flaccid paralysis in childhood, most children with acute flaccid myelitis have residual neurological deficits.

KEYWORDS:

Guillain-Barré syndrome; enterovirus; flaccid paralysis; myelitis; poliomyelitis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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