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Polio virus concerns rise


According to an Aug. 11 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in July, CDC was notified of a case of polio in an unvaccinated individual from Rockland County, N.Y., and is consulting with the New York State Department of Health on their investigation.

The young man belongs to a vaccine-resistant Hasidic Jewish community. He is 20, and traveled to Hungary and Poland earlier this year. He was hospitalized in June, the Washington Post reported, citing a public health official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Public health experts are working to understand how and where the individual was infected and to provide protective measures, such as vaccination services to the community to prevent the spread of polio to under- and unvaccinated individuals.

CDC recommends that children get polio vaccine to protect against polio, or poliomyelitis, as part of the series of routine childhood vaccines. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the United States since 2000. IPV is given by shot in the leg or arm, depending on the patient’s age.

CDC recommends that children get four doses of polio vaccine. They should get one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months old; 4 months old; 6 through 18 months old; and 4 through 6 years old.

Most adults in the United States were vaccinated as children and are therefore likely to be protected from getting polio. CDC urges everyone who is not fully vaccinated to complete the polio vaccination series as soon as possible.

There is no cure for paralysis caused by polio, but the disease can be prevented by immunization, which is more than 90% effective.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said there’s discussion about tracking polio in wastewater, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. This makes sense, experts said, given the high numbers of travelers between Los Angeles and New York and because people can be contagious with polio while having no symptoms.