Surveillance for Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) Paralysis Investigation Information for Health Professionals - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Surveillance for Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM):
Information for Health Professionals

Updated 12/29/2021

Clinical guidance

Acute flaccid myelitis surveillance

The Minnesota Department of Health is conducting surveillance for acute flaccid myelitis/paralysis. 

  • Criteria:
    • Acute onset of flaccid limb weakness; AND
    • MRI showing a spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter

  • Please contact MDH at 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414 to report patients that meet this criteria.

Specimen collection and testing

Stool, respiratory, cerebral spinal fluid, and serum specimens from these patients can be submitted to MDH Public Health Laboratory (PHL) for testing.

Collect (all if possible):

  • Respiratory Swab/Wash (Nasopharyngeal swab preferred):
    2 ml VTM/UTM or similar viral transport medium
    Transport at refrigerator temperature or frozen if transport will be delayed more than 2 days
  • Serum:
    1 ml, preferably stored off the clot
    Transport at refrigerator temperature or frozen if transport will be delayed more than 2 days
  • Stool Sample:
    2 g or 2 ml ParaPak C&S, Modified Carey-Blair, or equivalent
    Transport at refrigerator temperature
  • Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF):
    2 ml
    Transport at refrigerator temperature or frozen if transport will be delayed more than 2 days

Based on clinical presentation, MDH may test for arboviruses, picornaviruses/enteroviruses, and other pathogens. Specimens may also be sent to the CDC picronavirus lab. Reports for validated assays will be sent back to submitting laboratories.

Fill out a submission form for EACH specimen:

Use Project #1880 in submitter section of form.
Test request should be filled out as AFM request.
Please include the Epidemiologist contact name.

Label all tubes/containers with the following information:

  • Patient name
  • Patient date of birth
  • Date specimen collected
  • Specimen type

Send specimens to the MDH PHL:

Send specimens to arrive Monday-Friday before 4:30 p.m. to:
MDH Public Health Laboratory
Attn: Biological Accessioning
601 Robert St. N. 
St. Paul, MN 55155-2531

Background and more information

Updated Wednesday, 29-Dec-2021 09:06:58 CST