US Reports Its First Polio Case In Nearly A Decade
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Health officials say a young adult who lives in Rockland County, New York State, has developed paralysis as a result of the disease.
The patient reportedly tested positive for a vaccine-derived strain of the virus, which may have been caught from someone from a different state.
Although the person involved is no longer contagious, investigators are still trying to figure out how the infection occurred.
Brown University pandemic researcher Jennifer Nuzzo said: "If you're vaccinated, it's not something you need to worry about. But, if you haven't gotten your kids vaccinated, it's really important that you make sure they're up to date."
Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr Patricia Schnabel Ruppert added: "We want shots in the arms of those who need it."
For those unaware, the highly infectious disease invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.
The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread, mainly through the faecal-oral route, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Polio mainly affects children under five years of age, although adults can still get it.
The agency also states that 'one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis'.
Five to 10 per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised, the WHO add.
Wild poliovirus cases have decreased by over 99 per cent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases to six reported cases in 2021.
A global resurgence of the disease could happen if there is a failure to eradicate it quickly.
Last month, UK health officials declared a national incident as traces of polio virus were found in London's sewage.
Dr Vanessa Saliba of the UKHSA reassured people that the danger to the public was low, but warned that some people in communities with low vaccination rates could be at risk.
She said: "Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public overall is extremely low. Vaccine-derived poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is lower.
"On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated so if you or your child are not up to date with your polio vaccinations it’s important you contact your GP to catch up or, if unsure, check your red book."
Children in the UK get their polio jabs as part of the 'six-in-one' vaccine babies get when they're eight, 12 and 16 weeks old which also protects against tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B, whooping cough and Hib.
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