How long do they last and should I shoot now?

Polio is causing renewed concern across the country after New York recently announced that polio was found in its sewage — once a confirmed case last month warned that the virus is spreading locally.

Officials are urging all unvaccinated New Yorkers to get vaccinated immediately, warning that polio can cause permanent paralysis and even death in some cases, like the one in the New York patient.

Experts say the risk of contracting polio in the Bay Area may be low if you’re vaccinated — as are most adults — because the polio vaccine has long been part of childhood immunizations.

But how long does protection from polio vaccines last? What if you’re not sure about your vaccination status? Here’s what you need to know.

What is polio, how dangerous is it and how is it transmitted?

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious, incurable disease caused by the poliovirus. According to the CDC, it is spread from person to person, through the mouth, usually through the feces of an infected person, and less commonly through droplets from a sneeze or cough.

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