NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — New York health officials on Thursday reported a case of polio, the first in the United States in nearly a decade.
Officials did not immediately provide details about who the Rockland County resident was, whether the person had been vaccinated or their current condition.
State officials said it appeared that person had a vaccine-derived strain of the virus, probably from someone who had received a live vaccine – available in other countries, but not in the US – and spread it.
Polio was once one of the country’s most terrifying diseases, with annual outbreaks causing thousands of cases of paralysis – many of them in children.
According to the CDC, vaccines became available in 1955, and nationwide vaccination campaigns reduced the annual number of cases to less than 100 in the 1960s and less than 10 in the 1970s.
In 1979, polio was declared eliminated in the US, meaning the country no longer had a regular spread of the virus. Rarely, travelers with polio may have brought the infection to the US, the last such case being in 2013.
American children are still routinely vaccinated against polio. Federal officials recommend four doses: to be given at 2 months of age; Four months; at 6 to 18 months; and at 4 to 6 years of age. Some states require only three doses.
According to the most recent childhood vaccination data from the CDC, about 93% of 2-year-olds had received at least three doses of the polio vaccine.
Polio is mostly spread from person to person or through contaminated water. It can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis and possibly permanent disability and death. This disease mostly affects children.
Polio is endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, although cases have also been reported in recent years in several countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Last month, health officials in Britain warned parents to ensure their children were vaccinated after polio virus was found in sewage samples from London. No cases of paralysis were reported.
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