HEALTH: A Polio case has been discovered in US after almost a decade

Polio has effectively been wiped out of the United States since 1979. However, vaccine-derived cases of polio crop up every now and then which are still a cause for concern.

Health officials from New York state have notified about the first case of polio cropping up on American shores since 2013. The infected person is a resident of Rockland County.

According to sequencing which was conducted on the case, it was found to be a vaccine-derived polio infection. The cause of this type of infection is the oral polio vaccine that contains a weakened version of the virus which can be excreted in stool and transmitted from there.


The vaccine responsible has not been administered in the United States since the year 2000, hence officials believe that the origination of this virus was from somewhere beyond American shores.

According to Public Health Officials, the Rockland County resident who has been identified as being infected with the polio virus is a young adult. They started displaying symptoms a month ago and suffered some paralysis. It is not yet known whether the paralysis they are experiencing is permanent or can be corrected.

The virus was transmitted to the person because of someone who was inoculated with the oral polio vaccine. The person did not travel outside of the United States hence the transmission occurred here. Public health officials are investigating the case to make sure other people close to the patient are not at risk.


There are no other suspected cases of the virus at this time. However, health officials are urging people to vaccinate against this potentially deadly disease.

“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,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in her statement to the public.

Rockland County is said to host vaccine clinics on Friday and Monday.

The last identified case of polio detected in the U.S. was in 2013, and it was similarly a case of vaccine-derived polio. The last “wild” case was detected in 1979.


The polio vaccine in the U.S. is an inactivated vaccine and hence that does not cause this risk of infection. The vaccine immunizes people from both vaccine-derived and “wild” polio.

Polio is an incredibly contagious infection that can spread even when an infected person has no symptoms. The symptoms of polio include fatigue, fever, stiffness, muscle pain, and vomiting. In rarer cases, polio can also cause paralysis and death.

Hopefully, this was an isolated case and the community at large will remain safe from it.

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