US has first polio case in nearly a decade — Analysis
New York man is first to be infected by a vaccine-derived virus of the crippling disease.
After apparently infecting the virus with a vaccine, a 20-year old New Yorker has been declared the US’ first polio victim. As America fights the Covid-19 pandemic, and an outbreak of monkeypox, this has created yet another health crisis.
Unidentified male has been living in Rockland County. He was reported to have paralysis. He first suffered symptoms of the virus about a month ago, and given that he hadn’t traveled outside the US recently, state officials reportedly suspect that he was exposed to a person who had received a live polio vaccine overseas.
The US eradicated polio in 1979 and hadn’t reported a new case originating within the country since then. In the last 40 years, there have not been any new cases of polio in the United States. This includes a 7-month-old Indian child who was infected after she moved to Texas in 2013.
The New Yorker could have been infected with polio vaccine, as was the case for that baby. While the US administers jabs that contain an inactivated virus version, some other countries use droplets with live vaccine containing a weaker form of polio. Sometimes, these live viruses could cause new outbreaks.
In 1955, the US introduced the polio vaccine. It dramatically decreased cases of the virus which paralyzed thousands each year. “Many of you may be too young to remember polio, but when I was growing up, this disease struck fear in families, including my own,”Ed Day, Rockland County Executive said. “The fact that it is still around decades after the vaccine was created shows you just how relentless it is.”
County and state officials have urged residents who aren’t vaccinated against polio to get their jabs. Rockland County currently has two polio clinics. Nearly 93% of Americans get at least three doses by age two. “New Yorkers should know that those already vaccinated are at lower risk,”According to the state health department.
Rockland County was named “an epicenter for anti-vaccination fear,”This was partly due to the resistance of its Orthodox Jewish population to being inoculated. In 2019, the county banned unvaccinated children from public areas due to measles.
The new US polio case was announced just one month after UK health officials warned that traces of the polio virus had been found in London’s sewage. Between February and May, sewage samples were tested for a vaccine-derived version of the virus. According to the UK Health Security Agency, it is likely that the virus was brought into London from overseas.
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