A polio case discovered in New York last month is “only the very, very top of the iceberg,” with “several hundred cases in the community circulating,”. According to a senior official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The case was discovered in Rockland County, which has an alarmingly low percentage of polio vaccination. Dr. José Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated that because the majority of persons with polio have no symptoms, they can spread the virus without even realizing this.
“A number of people in the neighborhood have been infected with the poliovirus. They are transmitting the infection “He stated. “Because the spread will be silent, the spread is always a possibility.”
This can cause permanent death –
A team of CDC disease investigators arrived from Atlanta to Rockland County last week. And they are “very anxious” that polio “may mushroom out of control very fast and we could have a problem on our hands,”. According to a community health official who has met with the team.
Polio can cause permanent paralysis and death, however most people in the United States are immune due to immunization. Others, on the other hand, may be susceptible to the virus for a variety of reasons. People who are unvaccinated or under vaccinated are at risk, and polio vaccination rates in Rockland County. And neighboring Orange County, just north of New York City, are around 60% by age 2, compared to 93% nationally. Immune-compromised individuals can be vulnerable even if completely vaccinated.
Polio spreading silently –
The polio case in Rockland County is the first in the United States in nearly a decade.
The virus has also been discovered in sewage in Rockland and Orange Counties. The positive samples were genetically linked to the specific case. But no further cases have been documented in the United States.
According to the CDC, around three out of every four people infected with polio do not show symptoms. Yet they are still susceptible of spreading the virus to others. Most of the rest have symptoms like a sore throat or a headache that can be easily neglected or confused with other ailments. Only around one out of every 200 infected people becomes paralyzed. Some paralyzed people die because they are unable to breathe.
1940’s polio outbreaks –
Polio epidemics in the United States incapacitated an estimated 35,000 people every year in the late 1940s. A vaccine programmed began in 1955, and cases quickly decreased. According to the CDC, a full round of polio vaccines (four doses between the ages of 2 months and 6 years) is now at least 99% effective.
However, in recent decades, certain small groups of people have failed to immunize their offspring against the virus. One of them is in New York’s ultraorthodox Jewish community, which includes Rockland County.