Unvaccinated Rockland County, N.Y. man diagnosed with polio: According to a news release from the New York State Department of Health and the Rockland County Department of Health on Thursday, a case of polio has been discovered in an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County.
The organizations verified that the infection was spread by a recipient of the oral polio vaccination, which hasn’t been given in the US since 2000. The virus may have come from outside of the United States, where the oral vaccine is still used, according to officials.
In a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Rockland County Executive Ed Day emphasized that the person in question was no longer contagious. Our current efforts are concentrated on two issues: immunizations and determining whether the sickness has affected anyone else.
According to Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the health commissioner for Rockland County, the patient’s symptoms started around a month ago. She claimed that the patient had “weakness and paralysis” when they first arrived, and the Department was informed of the proven case on Monday.
Dr. Ruppert stated, “We are currently interviewing this person’s relatives and close friends to determine the risk to the community.” She gave no further details regarding the patient’s present condition or outlook.
Those who have received the polio vaccine are at very low risk. Those who have received all three shots are nearly completely protected. However, officials advised getting vaccinated for individuals who are unvaccinated or have not finished their immunization series.
2013 saw the final case of polio in the United States, which was brought in by an outsider. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there hasn’t been a case that started in America since 1979. Before the first vaccination was created in the 1950s, the illness was among the most dreaded in the nation.
There is no information available on the number of people in Rockland County who have had a polio vaccine, according to Beth Cefalu, a spokesman for the county.
But according to a regional health assessment, just approximately half of kids in Rockland County had received every recommended immunization by the time they were 35 months old in 2016. This was one of the lowest rates in the area. The World Health Organization recommends an 80 percent immunization rate to achieve herd immunity against polio.
In Rockland County, there was a measles outbreak in 2018 and 2019, during which more than 150 people contracted the illness. Local authorities at the time prohibited unvaccinated children from entering public spaces, including schools.
According to the Health Department, polio is extremely contagious. Even if a person does not exhibit any of the symptoms—which include exhaustion, fever, headache, muscle pain, and vomiting—they can still spread the illness. Rarely, polio cases can cause death or paralysis.
In nations where access to vaccines is more restricted, the safe and efficient oral vaccine is nonetheless administered. However, recipients of the oral vaccine, which includes a weaker strain of the virus, can still shed the infection. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the virus can “genetically revert to a variant that causes paralysis” if it spreads in a population with lower levels of immunization protection.