Doctors at Oishei Children’s Hospital continue to monitor suspected AFM case

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Wednesday night, News 4 reported Oishei Children’s Hospital was investigating a suspected case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM. 

The patient’s mother, Krystal Toporcyzk, spoke to News 4 exclusively about her son’s suspected condition. 

“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” she said. 

Toporcyzk’s 3-year-old son Kameron suddenly lost strength in his legs in late September, she said. 

“He was playing and running around and then the next morning, Tuesday morning, it changed our whole life around.”

Weakened limbs, along with droopy eyelids are symptoms of AFM.

Oishei Children’s Hospital released the following statement Thursday afternoon: 

“A patient at Oishei Children’s Hospital is currently undergoing diagnostic procedures for suspected, but not confirmed, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). We are working closely with the NYS Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to evaluate the patient’s condition and confirm their diagnosis.”

As of Thursday evening, the Erie County Health Department could not confirm a reported case of AFM. 

According to Oishei sources, once a diagnosis is confirmed, the CDC and the State Department of Health will be notified. 

News 4 spoke to Dr. Joseph Cronin of Western New Immediate Care about AFM. He is not familiar with Kameron’s suspected case.

“One of the examples of this type of process is polio. Polio is one of the causes of Acute Flaccid Myelitis however we don’t see that much anymore with advent of our vaccines,” Dr. Cronin said. 

Kameron is up to date on his shots, his mom told News 4.

Generally speaking, Dr. Cronin said tracing the exact causes of AFM can be difficult. 

The CDC reports a spike in reported cases starting in 2014.  It’s unclear why. 

So far this year, the CDC has reported 38 confirmed cases. If this case is confirmed, it will be the first in Erie County.

“They ran some blood work, they did a spinal tap, a lumbar tap. They took some fluids from his spinal chord, came back and told us it was a viral meningitis,” Toporcyzk said of her son’s initial diagnosis. 

After he didn’t respond to steroids, he returned to Oishei Children’s Hospital, where he is currently being treated.

If AFM is confirmed, there is no set treatment other than physical therapy for the symptoms.

“He can’t walk or stand on his own. And he has no reflex in his left knee and his left knee is very weak.”

Doctors are still working to confirm whether or not Kameron has AFM. On Friday morning, doctors said they were still going over MRI findings and other clinical tests.

“Because it is a neurologic injury, the recovery is somewhat unpredictable,” Cronin said of the virus. 

AFM can be transmitted via insect bites and other viruses, but you can’t catch it person-to-person. 

“There is no specific cause for alarm, and in general the things you do to keep your child healthy, you should keep doing them,” Dr. Cronin said. 

Toporcyzk told News 4 Thursday Kameron was getting plasma treatments. She expects he’ll remain in the hospital for the next couple of weeks. 

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