FRIDAY, July 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — New York health officials said Thursday that the first U.S. case of polio in nearly a decade has been confirmed in a young unvaccinated adult in Rockland County.
“Based on what we know about this case, and polio in general, the [New York] 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 Mary Bassett, M.D., said in a statement. “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.”
In the Rockland County case, the patient developed paralysis, but is no longer contagious. It is likely that the person contracted the disease from someone who had received a type of live polio vaccine administered only in other countries (the United States uses an inactivated type of vaccine that cannot cause polio), the Associated Press reported. The person had not traveled recently outside the country, health officials said.
Investigators are now working to determine specifically how the infection happened and whether others were exposed, while health officials have scheduled polio vaccination clinics for Friday and Monday in New York.
Rockland County, a northern suburb of New York City, is known for past instances of vaccine resistance and had a measles outbreak that infected 312 people in 2018 to 2019, according to the AP.
Polio was declared eliminated in the United States in 1979. Vaccines have been available since 1955, with national vaccine campaigns that reduced cases gradually, to 100 in the 1960s and fewer than 10 in the 1970s, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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