CDC deploys team to investigate polio outbreak in New York:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deployed a team to New York’s Rockland County to investigate an outbreak of polio, as local officials fear there may be thousands of undiagnosed cases in the state.

The breadth of the CDC’s investigation, how long they will be involved, or whether their findings will be made public is unclear. Officials involved also plan to help distribute polio vaccine shots to the Rockland community, which is only 60 percent vaccinated.

New York state officials announced in July that Rockland County had the first polio cases in the country in a decade. The patient suffered from paralysis but is now recovering at home. Since then, wastewater regulators have detected the virus in Rockland and nearby Orange County.

The discovery of at least one symptomatic case suggests that there are more elsewhere, and this is confirmed by the findings in Orange County. In most cases, the virus is asymptomatic or so mild that a person does not know it is polio, and one severe case may be milder than many others.

A Rockland official warned Monday that there could be “thousands” of cases in the state.

New York officials are warning that “hundreds” of New Yorkers may be infected with polio after at least three sewage samples were found in two upstate New York counties, Rockland and Orange (pictured)

Common symptoms of polio include high fever, extreme fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck and muscle pain.

Common symptoms of polio include high fever, extreme fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck and muscle pain.

“If you see paralysis, there is not a single case of paralysis. The incidence of polio is less than one percent, Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert told the BBC.

“If you see paralysis, there is not a single case of paralysis. The incidence of polio is less than one percent, Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert told the BBC.

“Most cases are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and these symptoms are often missed.

“So there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of cases before we saw paralysis.”

The CDC is working to learn more about this outbreak and even prevent more cases by giving local communities a shot.

The two counties affected so far, Rockland and Orange, both have vaccination rates around 60 percent in America.

Dr. Mary Bassett (pictured), New York’s health commissioner, warns there could be hundreds of undiagnosed polio cases in the state

“CDC continues to work with the New York State Department of Health to investigate a recent case of polio in an unvaccinated person in Rockland County,” the agency wrote to ABC.

“These efforts include regular testing of wastewater samples to monitor for the presence of poliovirus and sending a small team to New York to assist on the ground with investigation and vaccination efforts.”

A vaccinated person has nothing to worry about, and the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in the United States.

Most had to get blasts to go to primary school. Vaccination is lifelong and no booster is required to make a person safe from the virus.

Ruppert isn’t the only expert to sound the alarm about the breadth of cases in the state.

“Based on previous polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should be aware that for every case of polio that is observed, hundreds of others may be infected,” state health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said last week.

“With the recent sewage findings, the department views a case of polio as the tip of the iceberg.

“As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the threat of polio exists in New York today. We must meet this challenge by ensuring that adults, including pregnant women and infants up to 2 months old, are vaccinated.”

New York State officials began polio surveillance efforts in response to a confirmed case on July 21.

Polio: America’s Deadliest Disease, Now a Rare Disease

Polio is a serious viral infection worldwide.

The virus can live in the food and intestines for up to six weeks before patients develop symptoms and are contagious for seven to 10 days afterward.

But it can spread to the spinal cord, causing muscle weakness and paralysis.

The virus is more common in infants and young children and occurs in poor hygiene.

How scary is that?

Most people have no symptoms of infection, but about one in 20 people have mild symptoms such as fever, muscle weakness, headache, nausea and vomiting.

About one in 50 patients will experience severe muscle pain and stiffness in the neck and back.

Less than one percent of polio cases result in paralysis, and one in 10 of these cases is fatal.

Among those who develop symptoms, they appear 3-21 days after infection and include:

  • high temperature
  • sore throat
  • A headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • sore muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting

How does it spread?

People get polio through airborne droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, or comes into contact with the feces of an infected person.

This includes food, water, clothes or toys.

Does polio still exist in the US?

The last case of human-to-human transmission in the United States was in 1979, which was also the last case of wild polio.

However, there have been a few dozen cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus, although they were isolated and not transmitted further.

This incident was confirmed in an Orthodox Jew in his 20s. He was not vaccinated and contracted the vaccine-derived version of the virus.

Vaccine-acquired polio can occur after a person receives a live virus vaccine—an oral vaccine that can transmit the virus to others through fecal contamination.

The vaccine was no longer available in America, so he contracted it from someone who had received it overseas and eventually brought it back to a New Yorker.

He is recovering at home after being paralyzed from an infection and hospitalized. It was reported earlier this week that he was still unable to walk.

Given that he did not travel internationally during the standard infectious period, he may have contracted the virus from the state. This prompted officials to begin surveillance.

In June, polio from sewage was detected in Rockland County. Also detected in Orange County in June and July.

“Given how quickly polio spreads, now is the time for every adult, parent and caregiver to get themselves and their children vaccinated as early as possible,” Bassett said.

Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease that can spread to the spinal cord, causing paralysis and even death in severe cases.

It is highly contagious and is spread when someone touches a surface contaminated with the feces of an infected person and then their own mouth.

About a quarter of people infected with the virus develop flu-like symptoms, including sore throat, fever, fatigue and stomach pain.

One in 25 will develop meningitis – an infection of the spinal cord – followed by paralysis. One in ten of them will die from the infection.

It was the most dangerous disease in the United States during the 1940s.

Parents are scared to let their children play outside, especially during the summer when the virus is rampant – and public health officials quarantine homes and even entire cities where it has been detected.

It was responsible for more than 15,000 cases of paralysis and hundreds of deaths each year.

But in the mid-1950s, the country began producing poliovirus vaccines to prevent the disease.

In 1979, the United States declared the virus eradicated. Since then, there have been no known infections on US soil.

The vaccine has also been distributed worldwide, and the virus has returned to only a few countries.

Now it is known to spread only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The World Health Organization warns that if it continues to spread there, it will become a threat to the world.

But in recent years—as the virus has faded from national memory—vaccination rates in the U.S. have slowed.

Recent data show that 92.6 percent of Americans are now vaccinated against polio by their second birthday.

That’s below the 95 percent threshold the WHO says is needed to stop the epidemic.


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