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NY polio case stirs fear, vaccine push

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When Brittany Strickland heard that america recorded its first polio case in almost ten years, she was “deathly scared”the 33-year-old wasn’t vaccinated contrary to the disabling disease.

“My mom was an anti-vaxxer, therefore i discovered that I had never really had any polio vaccines as a kid,” the designer told AFP, after finally finding a shot this week.

Strickland was inoculated in Pomona, in New York’s Rockland County where in fact the first US polio case since 2013 was identified in July.

Since that time, the has been detected in wastewater samples in your community, in addition to in a neighboring county and in NEW YORK sewage, suggesting the herpes virus is spreading.

The developments are leading experts to fear that polio, once probably the most feared diseases in the us however now endemic to just a few developing countries, may wreak devastation stateside again.

“I had considered it a virus that has been coming to extinction,” John Dennehy, a virologist at the town University of NY, told AFP.

Health officials are urging anyone not immunized to obtain vaccinated, with Rockland County offering free shots.

The region, 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Manhattan, includes a polio vaccination rate well below the national average.

Only 60 percent of two-year-olds have obtained a vaccine, in comparison to 79 percent statewide, New York’s health department says.

Nationally, the figure is 92 percent, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends people have the to begin four doses at 8 weeks old.

Polio is really a crippling and potentially fatal viral disease that mainly affects children beneath the age of five, but could be devastating to unvaccinated adults.

Periodic outbreaks killed a large number of children and left thousands more in wheelchairs and leg braces before a vaccine originated in the late 1950s.

An enormous global effort in recent decades has come near wiping out the condition, with wild poliovirus now only existing in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The final naturally occurring US cases of polio were reported in 1979.

“It’s horrifying,” said Strickland. “You do not think it’s gonna happen here, and a lot of people do not get vaccinated and today we’re in this example.”

Polio is incredibly contagious and may spread from individual to individual through stools, sneezes, coughs and contaminated water before infected people even show symptoms.

‘Silver lining’

Analysis of the Rockland case led officials to trust that the initial way to obtain the infection was somebody who had received the oral polio vaccine, that was discontinued in the usa in 2000.

OPV replicates in the gut and may be passed to others through fecal-contaminated water. While weaker than wild poliovirus, the variant could cause serious disease and paralysis in the unvaccinated.

The case identified in July was in a man who was simply not inoculated and the condition was causing him paralysis, officials said.

They said he previously not traveled abroad, suggesting the condition had transmitted locally.

Local news reports say the infected man was an associate of the Orthodox Jewish community, where vaccine hesitancy will run high.

Rockland houses a big population of Orthodox Jews. The other day, greater than a dozen rabbis published an open letter urging members to obtain vaccinated.

Shoshana Bernstein, an unbiased health communicator and Orthodox Jew who’s educating members on the significance to getting immunized, says “any community that’s more insular” is vunerable to anti-vax messaging.

“The silver lining with polio is that people do have elders locally who is able to talk from first-hand experience. In a residential area that quite definitely values the household system and its own elders, that does make a direct effect,” she told AFP.

Although it is prematurily . to say if the solitary case is section of a limited or even more widespread outbreak, Dennehy fears it might you need to be “the end of the iceberg.”

“Just a proportion of individuals that are infected will ever show any observeable symptoms, and just a fraction of these people will ever get paralytic polio,” he said.

“But if enough folks are getting infected, eventually we start to see a lot more paralytic .”

2022 AFP

Citation: NY polio case stirs fear, vaccine push (2022, September 3) retrieved 4 September 2022 from

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