First Polio Case in the US in a Decade Reported in New York

New York health officials reported the first polio case in the United States in nearly a decade and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed the case in Rockland County, a suburb of New York City.

According to the state Department of Health, the virus of polio takes up to 30 days for symptoms to appear and can quickly spread among asymptomatic individuals, and Health Commissioner Mary Bassett strongly recommended in a statement that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated or boosted with the FDA-approved [inactivated polio vaccine] as soon as possible.

Bassett underscored the safety and the efficiency of the polio vaccine which protects against this potentially debilitating disease and is part of the mandatory, routine childhood immunizations.

The investigation coordinated by the New York State in coordination with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Rockland County Department of Health has so far established that involves a revertant polio Sabin type 2 virus, which is indicative of a transmission chain from an individual who received the oral polio vaccine.

Health officials said that this type of vaccine is not in use in the US since 2000 – when the nation begun administering the inactivated polio vaccine – suggesting that this case may have originated outside the country.

The CDC data shows the last time that happened was in 1993.

However, the local health officials announced later that the diagnosed victim, a young Orthodox Jewish man which is part of Rockland County’s substantial Jewish community, that was experiencing paralysis, a hallmark of the disease, had not been vaccinated against the virus.

Meanwhile, medical practitioners were also advised to be on the lookout for other potential cases while the investigation team is proactively responding to this emergent public health issue and urging vaccination and community leaders are notifying the public and make polio vaccination available.

Rockland County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert informed that the county would host polio vaccination clinics against the potentially deadly virus on Friday and Monday at the Pomona health complex.

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