Kids line up to get their polio vaccines at the Woodbury Avenue School in Huntington, New York, on April 27, 1954.
Enlarge / Kids line up to get their polio vaccines at the Woodbury Avenue School in Huntington, New York, on April 27, 1954.

The first case of the disease in the US in years has been detected in New York.

Health officials in Rockland, New York City, and the state want people who are unvaccinated to get their vaccinations.

"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," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a statement. "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."

The case was in a young adult who was unvaccinated and had not traveled outside the country recently. The person is no longer infectious, but they did develop a weakness from their illness. Health officials are still investigating if other people were exposed to the person who became infectious. According to the New York State Health Department, a person was found to have been exposed to a vaccine-derivedviruses. In the last few months there has been a detection of this type of vaccine in sewage samples.


The weakened (attenuated) polioviruses that are used in the vaccine are the root of the vaccine-derived strains of the disease. In the US and many other high-income countries, these types of vaccine are no longer used due to the decline in the number of cases of the disease. Inactivated vaccines are used by the US and others. There are pros and cons to the vaccine.

How this happens

It's cheap and effective to prevent paralytic polio with the oral vaccine. They can stop transmission. Because the vaccine contains a weakened virus that can still replicate in the intestines, they can generate strong immune responses in the gut that block wild polioviruses from replicating there. The vaccine can prevent people who have been given the vaccine from being carriers of the disease.

The vaccine can be shed if the conditions are right, but it can also be lost if the conditions are wrong.

Poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions, such as if food and drinking water are contaminated with feces, lead to the spread of the disease. The vaccine virus can be spread from unvaccinated person to unvaccinated person until it regains the ability to cause disease, if an oral vaccine is used in a setting with poor hygiene. At this time, it's called a VDPV.

The inactivated vaccines use Viruses that are not able to replicate. They do not run the risk of spreading infectious Viruses. They are more expensive than other countries, and they don't produce strong immune responses in the gut, which could allow for a wild outbreak of the disease.


The New York State Department of Health said that finding a VDPD in the US suggests that the virus may have originated outside of the US.

Polio risks

A person can spread the disease even if they don't have any symptoms. They can feel flu-like symptoms if they have symptoms. They can appear for up to 30 days after an individual is bitten.

Most people will have no symptoms, but about a quarter will experience flu-like symptoms. The central nervous system can be attacked by the virus in an estimated 1 to 5 in 1000. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 200 people will become paralyzed from the waist down. About 2% to 10% of people with paralytic polio will die because of their paralysis.

Post-polio syndrome, which can cause pain, weakness, and paralysis 15 to 40 years after the initial infection, is caused by 25 percent to 40 percent of people who survive an infectious disease.

The incidence of the disease in the US has plummeted since 1955, when the vaccine was introduced. In 1979 there was the last case of the disease in the United States. Since then, there have been cases of travel and imported vaccine. According to the New York health department, the last time the CDC identified a VDPV in the United States was in 2013).

Rockland County in New York is holding a vaccine clinic for children on July 22nd.

The New York City Health Commissioner saidVaccines have protected our health for decades. The need for safe and effective vaccines has always been there, and we need New Yorkers to protect themselves against diseases that can be prevented.