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Infectious disease expert to discuss diagnosis, treatment of acute flaccid myelitis :

August 15, 2019

Editor's note:The 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Oct. 25-29 in New Orleans.

Kevin B. Messacar, M.D., FAAP, will present “Acute Flaccid Myelitis” (F4195) from 4-4:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 in rooms 356-357 of the convention center. 

Dr. Messacar is assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and an attending pediatrician and infectious disease consultant at Children's Hospital Colorado. He is a member of the AAP Sections on Hospital Medicine and Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Acute Flaccid Myelitis Task Force.

In the following Q&A, Dr. Messacar summarizes what he plans to discuss during the session and why pediatricians should attend.

Q: What are the key things you will be covering during the session?

A: In this session, we will review the epidemiology and natural history of the polio-like illness, acute flaccid myelitis, including recommendations for diagnosis, management and reporting of cases. Updates on research into this emerging condition, likely causes and strategies being developed for prevention and treatment will be reviewed.

Q: Why is this an important topic for pediatricians to learn more about?

A: Acute flaccid myelitis has been increasing in incidence since 2014 with seasonal outbreaks every other year in the summer-fall, leaving hundreds of children with long-term paralysis and disability. It is important that pediatricians learn to recognize, diagnose and manage children with acute flaccid myelitis.

Q: How did you get interested in acute flaccid myelitis?

A: In 2014, I helped to characterize the first recognized cluster of acute flaccid myelitis cases associated with enterovirus D68 presenting to Children’s Hospital Colorado. Over the past six years, I have conducted research on possible causes and treatments for acute flaccid myelitis.

Q: What is the take-home message of the session?

A: A child presenting with flaccid weakness in the setting of a febrile illness should be evaluated for acute flaccid myelitis, particularly during outbreaks in the summer-fall.

For more coverage of the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

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