health day reporter
FRIDAY, July 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — New York City health officials said Thursday that the first U.S. case of polio in nearly a decade was confirmed in an unvaccinated young adult in Rockland County.
“Based on what we know about this case, and about polio in general, the [New York] The Department of Health strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals be vaccinated or boosted with the FDA-approved IPV polio vaccine as soon as possible,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett in a statement. . “The polio vaccine is safe and effective, protecting against this potentially debilitating disease, and it is part of the backbone of required routine childhood immunizations recommended by health officials and public health agencies nationwide.
In the Rockland County case, the patient developed paralysis, but is no longer infectious. It is likely that the person contracted the disease from someone who had received a type of live polio vaccine given only in other countries (the United States uses an inactivated type of vaccine that cannot cause polio), reported the Associated Press. The person had not recently traveled outside the country, health officials said.
Investigators are now working to determine precisely how the infection occurred and whether others were exposed, while health officials have scheduled polio vaccination clinics for Friday and Monday in New York.
“We want injections in the arms of those who need them,” Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said at a news conference Thursday, the AP reported.
Rockland County, a northern suburb of New York, is notorious for past cases of vaccine resistance and experienced a measles outbreak that infected 312 people in 2018-2019, according to the AP.
Before vaccines were available, poliomyelitis was a much-dreaded disease that caused annual epidemics, including thousands of cases of paralysis, mostly among children.
“Many of you may be too young to remember polio, but when I was growing up this disease struck fear into families, including mine,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day, in a statement. “The fact that it’s still about decades after the vaccine was created shows you how relentless it is. Do the right thing for your child and the greater good of your community, and get your child vaccinated now.”
Polio was declared eliminated in the United States in 1979. Vaccines have been available since 1955, with nationwide vaccination campaigns gradually reducing cases to 100 in the 1960s and fewer than 10 in the 1970s, according to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. .
About 93% of 2-year-olds in the United States have received at least three doses of the vaccine. The US government recommends doses at 2 months, 4 months, 6 to 18 months, and finally at 4 to 6 years, although some states only require three doses.
While most Americans are vaccinated against polio, Brown University pandemic researcher Jennifer Nuzzo said this case should serve as a wake-up call to the unvaccinated.
” It is not normal. We don’t want to see that,” Nuzzo told the AP. “If you’re vaccinated, it’s not something you need to worry about. But if you haven’t had your children vaccinated, it’s very important to make sure they’re up to date.
Poliomyelitis is transmitted from person to person or through contaminated water. It can cause paralysis, permanent disability, and death after infecting a person’s spinal cord.
The disease is endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has also been found in many countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia in recent years. It was found in sewage samples from London last month, prompting the UK government to issue a warning to parents about vaccines.
The last recorded case in the United States was in 2013, when a 7-month-old child who had recently moved to the United States from India was diagnosed in Texas. This child also had the type of polio linked to the live vaccine used in other countries. Yet this weakened live virus can, in rare cases, mutate into a form that can cause new outbreaks, the AP reported.
The World Health Organization has more on polio.