An Unvaccinated New Yorker Contracted Polio In A Unique Way
The Associated Press reports an unvaccinated young adult from New York contracted polio, becoming the first known case in the United States in a decade, health officials said.
The infected individual lives in Rockland County and developed paralysis a month ago, one of the virus’s devastating symptoms it inflicts on its host. Health officials say the person did not travel outside of the country.
Health officials are currently trying to determine how the person caught polio, but it appears they had “a vaccine-derived strain of the virus,” possibly catching it from someone who got a live oral vaccine. The United States no longer uses the oral polio vaccine because recipients have shown to shed the live virus.
The United States has since opted for an inactivated polio vaccine administered via a needle that contains a non-replicating virus preventing recipients from spreading the virus.
The person is no longer contagious, but officials are diligently trying to learn how the person caught polio and if anyone else was exposed to the virus.
Unlike COVID-19, most Americans are vaccinated against polio, but this case is a wake-up call as vaccine hesitancy is rising globally.
In the United States, being inoculated against contagious diseases has become political thanks the former president Donald Trump and his MAGA movement.
“This isn’t normal. We don’t want to see this,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Brown University pandemic researcher. “If you’re vaccinated, it’s not something you need to worry about. But if you haven’t gotten your kids vaccinated, it’s really important that you make sure they’re up to date.”
The Threat of Polio Is Still Super Low, But Officials Are Pushing Vaccinations
Following the revelation, health officials are urging people to take the polio vaccine if they or their children have not been vaccinated. Rockland County also happens to be one of those hubs where people are not getting their shots.
“Based on what we know about this case, and polio in general, the Department of Health strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated or boosted with the FDA-approved IPV polio vaccine as soon as possible,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a press release.” The polio vaccine is safe and effective, protecting against this potentially debilitating disease, and it has been part of the backbone of required, routine childhood immunizations recommended by health officials and public health agencies nationwide.”
We definitely don’t need polio, a virus we stamped out thanks to vaccines making a comeback.
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado / Getty