According to the CDC, polio has been spreading in the New York City area for months, posing a persistent threat to those who haven’t had the vaccine.

According to the CDC, polio has been spreading in the New York City area for months, posing a persistent threat to those who haven't had the vaccine

The poliovirus was introduced from outside sources and has been spreading locally in the New York City metropolitan region for months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In June, a young adult in Rockland County, New York, a suburb of New York City, had polio after not having been vaccinated. A CDC report published on Tuesday found that the patient had not traveled internationally at the time of their polio exposure and that the virus strain they caught is associated with the attenuated virus used in oral immunizations.

According to the CDC, the oral polio vaccine was used to initiate the chain of transmission until the United States discontinued administering it in 2000. New York City’s vaccine-derived virus has been genetically linked to samples from Israel and the United Kingdom.

The organization claims to have found three more persons who exhibit symptoms of polio but have tested negative. These people are “persons of interest” at this time.

Unvaccinated people may get polio from newly inoculated people because the oral polio vaccine contains a live virus strain that may still multiply. Vaccination given as an injection in the United States now renders the virus harmless and prevents further spread.

Wastewater testing conducted after the young adult’s illness was confirmed turned up 21 sewage samples positive for polio, 13 from Rockland County and 8 from nearby Orange County. There is genetic evidence connecting 20 of these samples, obtained between May and July, to the infection that the young adult contracted. Initial sewage samples were taken in New York as part of the Covid tracking program.

This past Friday, state health officials announced that polio had been detected in New York City sewage tests. The adult from Rockland County is just the second confirmed case of polio in the United States since 1979.

Unvaccinated Rockland County resident who contracted polio eight days before symptoms appeared. The incubation period for polio is 7–21 days, after which paralysis may set in. The CDC reports that the patient did not travel internationally at the time of exposure.

The person from Rockland County was first taken to the hospital, and then transferred to a rehabilitation center.

A total of eleven changes were found in a single pathogen site of the virus the patient contracted, despite its genetic similarity to the strain used in the oral vaccine. The CDC claims this proves the virus has been spreading for at least a year, albeit its point of origin is still unclear.

While there have been no new cases of paralytic polio reported, the CDC has warned that the detection of the virus in wastewater samples collected in Rockland and Orange counties over the course of more than two months indicates community transmission of the virus, putting unvaccinated individuals at risk of paralysis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “low vaccination coverage in the patient’s county of home means the community is at risk for future episodes of paralytic polio.” In the United States, even one case of polio might be considered a public health crisis.

Paralysis develops in 1 in 1,900 people who get the vaccine-derived strain of polio.

Since 2020, the Rockland County polio immunization rate for children under the age of two has dropped from 67% to roughly 60%. According to the CDC, the vaccination rate among children this age was as low as 37% in certain parts of the country.

The CDC claims that polio immunization distribution has been cut down as a result of the chaos produced by the Covid pandemic, which leaves certain places vulnerable to breakouts.

Since 1979, the CDC notes, the United States has had no instances of the most frequent strain of poliovirus because to a successful immunization effort that began in the 1950s. However, polio has sometimes been introduced to the United States by visitors.

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