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June 8, 2020

Preventing an Acute Flaccid Myelitis Epidemic in the Time of a Pandemic

Author Affiliations
  • 1Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
JAMA Neurol. 2020;77(8):929-930. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1545

It was the robber of hope for a generation, several generations of children...There were many other diseases that were bad for America, but polio broke its heart.

Mark Sauer1

Polio survivor Mark Sauer’s words put a now near-extinct disease into perspective for a generation of young families and physicians who will likely never encounter the disease owing to research-driven vaccination programs. However, similar to the poliovirus, other enteroviruses pose an impending threat for neurologic morbidity and mortality.

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1 Comment for this article
Considerations of possible future outbreaks of other infectious diseases in the COVID-19 era
GIOVANNI GHIRGA, Pediatrician | San Paolo General Hospital, Civitavecchia, Italy
This is a very opportune article in times of COVID-19. EV-D68, another enterovirus making its own dramatic entrance. Unfortunately, we do not want to believe and we are not ready for an increase of new polio-like AFP cases. Recognizing AFM and EV-D68 as global public health concerns even amid the COVID-19 pandemic is essential and will proactively push governments to put resources into research and vaccine development. This may help avert a public health crisis in the future. AFM is a rare but dramatic and debilitating disease. However, the biennial pattern of outbreaks is likely to continue and further outbreaks of EV-D68 can be expected and could subsequently lead to an increase in EV-D68 associated AFM cases.