Virus Not Seen in US In Decade Paralyzes Hudson Valley, New York Man
A virus that has not been detected in the United States in about 10 years has left a Hudson Valley man paralyzed.
The first case of polio detected in the United States since 2013 was found in a Hudson Valley resident.
Rockland County, New York Resident Tests Positive For Polio
On Thursday, the New York State Department of Health and the Rockland County Department of Health confirmed a Rockland County resident tested positive for polio.
"Many of you may be too young to remember polio, but when I was growing, up this disease struck fear in families, including my own. The fact that it is still around decades after the vaccine was created shows you just how relentless it is. Do the right thing for your child and the greater good of your community and have your child vaccinated now," Rockland County Executive Ed Day stated.
Facts About Polio
Polio is a viral disease that may affect the neurologic system, causing muscle weakness and, in certain cases, resulting in paralysis or death, according to health officials. The virus typically enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person. Respiratory or oral transmission is less common but also possible.
Polio is very contagious. You can spread the virus without ever feeling sick. Symptoms that can be mild or flu-like can take up to 30 days to appear. During this timeframe, the infected person can spread the virus. Up to 95 percent of infected people show no symptoms but can still spread the virus, according to health officials.
"Though rare, some polio cases can result in paralysis or death," the New York State Department of Health states.
Rockland County Man Paralyzed From Polio
WCBS 880 reports the young Rockland County man, an unvaccinated Orthodox Jew, is now suffering from paralysis.
It's believed the Rockland County resident got the virus from someone outside of the United States.
"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 polio vaccine as soon as possible," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said."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."
Polio Vaccine Introduced in 1955
A polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. The vaccine's success led to polio cases nationwide dropping dramatically in the late 1950s and 1960s.
"Vaccines have protected our health against old and new viruses for decades," New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. "The fact is, the urgency of safe and effective vaccines has always been here, and we need New Yorkers to protect themselves against completely preventable viruses like Polio."
The last naturally occurring cases of polio in the United States was in 1979. The last known case in the U.S was in 2013, according to the CDC.
Rockland County is holding polio vaccine clinics in Pomona, New York at the Pomona Health Complex on Friday and Monday.
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