Health officials in New York said Thursday that polio has been confirmed in a young unvaccinated adult in Rockland County for the first time in nearly a decade.
The New York Department of Health recommends that people who have not been vaccinated or who have not received a dose in the past be vaccinated immediately, Commissioner of the Department of Health, Dr. Mary Bassett, said in a statement. They also have a safe and effective polio vaccine.
Government and public health officials have recommended this vaccine as an important component of routine childhood immunizations.”
A patient in Rockland County has paralysis and is no longer contagious. According to the Associated Press, the patient received a type of live polio vaccine that is only administered in other countries (the United States uses an inactivated type of vaccine that cannot cause polio). The person had not traveled recently outside the country, and health officials said they were told this.
Health officials are now investigating how the infection happened and whether others were exposed, while health officials are currently conducting a polio vaccination clinic in New York on Friday and Monday.
Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said at a news conference that she wants vaccines in the hands of those who need them.
In Rockland County, north of New York City, vaccine resistance has been documented in the past. In 2018-2019, it suffered a measles outbreak infecting 312 people.
Before vaccines became available, polio was a disease that caused annual outbreaks of paralysis, mostly in children.
When I was growing up, polio was a very frightening disease for my family and for many others, said Rockland County Executive Ed Day in a statement. The fact that it is still around decades after the vaccine was created shows you just how relentless it is. Do the right thing for your child and the greater good of your community, and have your child vaccinated now.”
The United States has been vaccinating since 1955, with national vaccination campaigns gradually reducing cases, such as 100 cases in the 1960s to fewer than 10 cases in the 1970s, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the United States, 93% of 2-year-olds have received at least three doses of the vaccine. It is recommended that the U.S. government administer doses at two months, four months, six to 18 months, and four to six years of age, though some states require only three doses.
It’s recommended that all Americans get vaccinated against polio, but Jennifer Nuzzo from Brown University said this case should serve as a wake-up call to the unvaccinated.
“This isn’t normal. Nuzzo told the Associated Press: “We don’t want to see this.” If you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to worry. But if your kids haven’t been vaccinated, make sure they are.”
People can contract the disease from one another or from contaminated water. It can result in paralysis, permanent disability, and death after it infects the spinal cord.
Afghanistan and Pakistan suffer from the disease. In recent years, it has also been found in a variety of African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Last month, it was discovered in London sewage samples, leading the British government to issue a warning to parents.
The last record of a U.S. case was in 2013, when a 7-month-old newly arrived from India was diagnosed in Texas. This child also had polio of the type associated with live vaccines in other countries. This weak live virus can still mutate, however, in rare cases, causing new outbreaks, the AP reported.
For more information
There is more information on polio available from the WHO.
SOURCE: Associated Press