Fairhope doctor addresses CDC’s “mystery illness” concerns

Baldwin County

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — As the CDC continues to express concerns about the polio-like condition acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the medical director at Thomas Hospital recognizes it’s severity – but also doesn’t want parents to be overly alarmed.

“It’s scary when it occurs, but it’s rare,” said Michael McBrearty. “It occurs one time in a million.”

The Alabama Health Department tells News 5 the state is now investigating three possible cases of AFM. Department officials were not able to disclose where those patients are from.

AFM comes on quickly, and typically impacts children. It causes patients to suddenly and unexpectedly lose function of their arms and legs.

McBrearty said the medical field takes the illness very seriously but also wants parents to be able to differentiate between cold and fatigue symptoms and an actual case of AFM.

“This isn’t aching, and not necessarily much fever. This is – the kid is just flaccid,” McBrearty said while slumping back in his chair to demonstrate the symptom. “I mean their arms don’t work, their legs don’t work.”

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