Multiple members of the AFMWG are currently trying to understand the etiology and disease mechanisms behind AFM, from the virology point of view to the evaluation of immune-mediated mechanisms, as well as searching for better laboratory approaches to identify and study this disease. Ensuring the correct handling of biological samples from potential cases of AFM is crucial for current and future research projects and public health surveillance.
All biospecimens are highly valuable. However, early specimen collection has the best chance to give us more information about AFM. As such, we encourage health care providers who encounter suspected AFM cases to obtain biological samples as early as possible in the course of the disease.
The AFMWG has the following protocols to standardize the acquisition, handling, storage, and transportation of biological samples and aid clinicians in the process.
- Protocol for Blood samples
- Protocol for Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) samples
- Protocol for Respiratory samples
- Protocol for Stool samples
Additionally, In the United States, suspected AFM cases should be promptly reported to the local health department as part of a national AFM surveillance effort. As part of this effort, biospecimens also should be sent to the CDC. The above protocols are in line with the CDC instructions of specimen collection. Please visit the CDC website for more information about what samples are required for surveillance and how to contact your state and local health departments to coordinate the transfer of specimens to the CDC.