Now, an unvaccinated young adult from New York has recently contracted the potentially debilitating disease.
Experts say a newly identified case just outside the Bronx in New York should serve as a wake-up call.
“If you’re an adult, you know, especially if you’re 30 or 40 and it’s been a while since you’ve been vaccinated, you may need to get a booster,” said Dr Daisy Dodd , an infectious disease specialist, from Kaiser Permanente. Orange County.
Polio reminders are common for those traveling to Third World countries, and anyone who comes into contact with the Rockland County resident is encouraged to get vaccinated.
“We just want people to take good advice from the health department if necessary. Most people have nothing to worry about, some should be concerned,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
Poliomyelitis is a viral disease transmitted through contaminated faeces, food or water.
On rare occasions, Dodd said, polio can be caught from someone who sheds the virus after receiving the oral vaccine. Officials say that is what happened in New York.
“The result of that in the United States, we no longer give the oral vaccine or the live attenuated vaccine,” she said.
“This is an incredible vaccine that people were waiting in line for in the mid-1950s,” said Dr. Patricia Ruppert, commissioner of Rockland County Hospitals.
The injectable version, which is the version given in the United States currently, does not contain live virus. The patient, who suffers from paralysis, began experiencing symptoms a month ago.
“Not only does it give you vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, but it can lead to paralysis because it affects the central nervous system,” Dodd said.
Polio was once one of the country’s most feared diseases, with annual outbreaks causing thousands of cases of paralysis. Thanks to the vaccine, poliomyelitis was declared eliminated in the United States in 1979.
Officials say vaccine hesitancy is on the rise.
Experts warn this is a situation that can lead to more disease outbreaks Americans haven’t seen in a long time.
“It’s a reminder that we need to give our kids, and maybe ourselves, the primary series or the booster shots, and remember to wash your hands,” Dodd said.
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