Sylvester woman believes her son contracted AFM virus

Worth Co AMF Virus case

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Acute flaccid myelitis, or the AFM virus, has been seen all over the country and there has been a confirmed case here in Georgia.


WALB sat down with a Sylvester woman Friday who said she believes her son contracted the disease as well.

Fearful for her child’s life, Ronnie Freeman did what any other mother would do if she thought her child’s health was at risk. She said she never heard of this disease before, and apparently, neither did the doctors who attempted to treat her son.

Ronnie Freeman. (Source: WALB)
Ronnie Freeman. (Source: WALB)

“I was really worried, for the first two whole weeks, no sleep,” said Freeman.

Freeman said that was the case for her 6-year-old son Riley when his legs gave out on him.

“Like pins and needles. He said it felt like he was walking on fire. At first I figured it was probably myalgia or growing pains," Freeman explained.

Freeman said now she believes he contracted the virus AFM, that, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, causes weakness in the arms or legs.

“He went to bed and he woke up the next morning unable to use his legs, and that’s basically what it was for three and a half weeks,” Freeman said.

WALB reached out to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for comment as to why they were unable to confirm Riley’s case, but we haven’t gotten a response.

The CDC has reported that across 22 states, 62 cases have been confirmed this year.

There is no known cause of the virus, but Freeman hopes they get one soon.

“It’s scary because they didn’t know what was going on with him, I didn’t know what was going on with him and I didn’t know if it was going to return or if it’s going to have any long term affects on his walking ability,” said Freeman

Freeman said she ended up taking his condition into her own hands.

“I think that being that we caught it early enough and got him on the amoxicillin like we did, he was taking it three times a day and I believe that gave him an extra boost to fight it off,” Freeman said.

Freeman also gave him vitamins and plenty of exercise.

Soon enough, he started walking again.

“Riley is a very active child, he’s all over the place. And for him to not get up out of a chair for days without being carried then you know something was seriously wrong with him,” explained Freeman.

The CDC said that though they aren’t aware of the cause of AFM, they recommend people stay on top of their vaccinations, wash their hands properly, and protect themselves from mosquito bites.

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