According to Rockland County and New York State Health Officials on Thursday, Fox News Digital had previously reported that an unvaccinated resident of Rockland County, N.Y. who was exposed to someone who had received an oral poliovirus vaccine contracted the neurological disease and is now paralysed.
Vaccination against polio is an issue brought up by this case, and the facts surrounding this matter are important for all Americans to know.
“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 IPV [inactivated] polio vaccine as soon as possible,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a release from the N.Y. State Department of Health that was provided to Fox News Digital.
On Thursday, health officials announced that the live poliovirus strand oral vaccination was no longer being administered in the United States.
However, it is still widely used, especially in Eastern European countries.
A month ago, the patient first noticed symptoms, prompting state and county health officials to launch an investigation and begin tracking any contacts.
They were unable to determine the origin of the person who received the oral polio vaccine or the location where the sick person may have come into contact with this person. (The identity of the patient has not been disclosed.) Public health laboratory results from the New York State Department of Health revealed “revertant polio Sabin type 2 virus,” as stated in a press release.
The use of the oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is now banned in the United States, appears to have been a key link in the chain of transmission.
In addition, the announcement states, “Since revertant strains cannot arise from inactivated vaccinations, this suggests that the virus may have originated in a region outside the U.S. where OPV is delivered.”
According to the announcement, these results have also been confirmed by the CDC.
Conference attendees heard that in 2000 the United States phased out the use of the live virus-containing oral polio vaccine (OPV) in favour of the less dangerous inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).
At a news conference earlier this week, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, health commissioner for Rockland County, stated that the IPV “does not induce polio.”
She explained the IPV utilised in the U.S. is inactivated and so it will not change or mutate.
And it means there’s no danger of spreading it, she added.
Explain what polio is.
Infected with a virus, poliomyelitis causes paralysis in its victims. According to medical professionals, this condition can lead to muscle weakness and, in extreme circumstances, paralysis and death.
Doctors told Fox Digital News that the poliovirus is spread when infected stool is ingested by someone else, commonly through contaminated hands.
Transmission via the respiratory system and saliva between the mouths is also possible.
During the press briefing, specialists from Rockland County stressed how easily spreadable polio is.
Even if a person doesn’t have any outward symptoms, they may still be able to spread the virus to others through their bodily fluids.
One may not experience any effects till up to 30 days afterwards. Medical professionals say that these symptoms can range from the flu-like mildness of nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and tight muscles to the life-threatening extremes of muscle weakness and paralysis.
During the conference, Rupert shared that in the United States, children typically receive the inactivated polio vaccine at ages 2 and 4, with a third dose administered between 6 and 18 months.
Then, between the ages of 4 and 6, they get a booster shot. It’s a pre-school and elementary school rule that kids get vaccinated.
Dr. Aaron Glatt, M.D., MACP, is chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau on Long Island, N.Y.
Glatt — also the chair of the Dept. of Medicine at Mount Sinai — is not involved with the case in Rockland County, but spoke with Fox Digital News about live immunizations such as the OPV and the danger of catching polio from a person who has been given the live vaccine.
He warned that those who had not had the polio vaccine or who had impaired immune systems should stay away from those who had recently received OPV.
Even after getting OPV, “polio virus can be shed for up to two months,” the study concluded.
According to Glatt, in the United States, medical practitioners choose the IPV because it provides immunity to children in the event of polio exposure without the risk of viral spread to others.
Fox Digital News spoke with Dr. Jennifer L. Lighter, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone in New York City, who explained that the OPV is still used because it is an effective tool for global polio eradication due to its ease of administration, low cost, and induction of mucosal immunity.
The hospital epidemiologist, who was not briefed on the Rockland County case, confirmed that OPV is contagious.
“Rarely (approximately 1 instance in a million), OPV can cause paralysis in youngsters who are immune-compromised,” Lighter wrote in an email to Fox Digital News. In the United States, OPV was banned because of a tiny risk of side effects in infants with impaired immune systems.
Lighter stressed that persons with impaired immune systems should consult a physician before being vaccinated. The infectious disease expert explained that although OPV is not administered in the U.S., several other vaccines such as the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine are live attenuated immunizations.
According to Lighter, those with impaired immune systems should talk about what to do if they ever come into contact with a child or somebody who has received a live vaccine.
Lighter underlined the value of polio vaccination.
“Immunization against polio is one of humankind’s greatest achievements,” she remarked. “In the U.S. before the vaccination, there were roughly 50,000 cases of paralytic polio cases and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year from polio.”
According to health professionals Fox Digital News interviewed, polio was nearly eradicated after the introduction of a vaccination in 1955.
According to the CDC, 99 out of 100 children who receive all of their polio vaccination shots will be protected from the disease.
The polio vaccine has been so successful that the CDC claims the United States has been polio-free since 1979. The CDC also noted the best approach to keep the disease at bay is to maintain the population’s strong immunity to polio through immunisation.
Those who have not been immunised should discuss this issue with their primary care physicians.
Medical professionals and hospitals in the area were urged to keep an eye out for new cases by the New York State Department of Health and the Rockland County Department of Health.
Government officials have stated that those who have received vaccinations are safer.
Those who are not vaccinated, such as pregnant women, persons who have not finished their polio vaccine series, or members of the community who are worried they may have been exposed, should talk to their doctor about becoming immunised.
This week, health officials expressed concern that the COVID pandemic may cause some people to be reluctant to get vaccinated.
Residents are strongly encouraged to acquire the polio vaccine by state and county officials.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a press release, “Vaccines have preserved our health against old and new infections for decades.”