The first case of polio in the country in in ten years has been confirmed by New York health officials and the CDC, according to state authorities on Thursday.
Key context: According to the state Department of Health, the virus was found in Rockland County, a suburb of New York City. It can spread swiftly among asymptomatic people and take up to 30 days for symptoms to manifest. According to the state, it’s the first instance the CDC has identified in the United States since 2013.
The state announced that it is collaborating with the health departments of Rockland County and New York City to conduct an investigation, take precautionary measures, and promote immunization.
“Based on what we know about this case, and polio in general, the Department of Health strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated or boosted with the FDA-approved [inactivated polio vaccine] as soon as possible,” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement. “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.”
The specifics: Health officials stated that the case, which was made public on Thursday, involves a revertant polio Sabin type 2 virus and is “indicative of a transmission chain from an individual who received the oral polio vaccine.” Since the inactivated polio vaccine has been delivered in the United States since 2000, that particular vaccine type is no longer utilized there, indicating that it might have come from another nation. The last time that occurred, according to the CDC, was in 1993.
Rockland County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said the agency “is working with our local health care partners and community leaders to notify the public and make polio vaccination available.”
“We are monitoring the situation closely and working with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to this emergent public health issue to protect the health and well-being of county residents,” she said in a statement.
What’s next: On Friday and Monday, Rockland County will host polio vaccination clinics at the Pomona medical building.