Live oral polio vaccine: Here’s why the US stopped using it years ago

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According to Rockland County and New York State health officials Thursday, an unvaccinated Rockland County man who received the polio vaccine developed a neurological disorder and is now paralyzed, Fox News Digital previously reported.

The case raises the issue of polio vaccination — and what Americans need to know to protect their health.

“Based on this incident and what we know about polio, the Department of Health recommends that unvaccinated individuals be vaccinated or boosted with FDA-approved IPV. [inactivated] polio vaccine as soon as possible,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a release to Fox News Digital from the New York State Department of Health.

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An oral vaccine containing live strands of the poliovirus is no longer available in the United States, health officials said Thursday.

However, it is still used in many countries, including Eastern Europe.

Officials could not confirm where the person who received the polio vaccine was from or where the infected person met the person.

The patient started experiencing symptoms a month ago; State and county health officials have launched an investigation and contact tracing.

A woman is shown bandaging her hands at a vaccination site. The oral polio vaccine has not been used in the United States since 2000.
(iStock)

They could not confirm where the person who received the polio vaccine was from or where the infected person met the person. (The identity of the patient has not been disclosed.)

The public health laboratory of the New York State Department of Health has identified Sabin virus as the type 2 polio virus, according to a press release.

The US stopped using the oral polio vaccine (OPV) in 2000, replacing it with the non-live polio vaccine (IPV).

“This is indicative of a chain of transmission from someone who received oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is not licensed or administered in the United States.”

The release also states, “This means that the virus may emerge outside the US where OPV is administered because revertant strains cannot emerge from inactivated vaccines.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also confirmed these findings, the statement said.

Officials said during the meeting that the US stopped using the polio vaccine (OPV) in 2000 and replaced it with the live polio vaccine (IPV).

In this February 2015 photo, a Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine to a child at a bus terminal in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

In this February 2015 photo, a Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine to a child at a bus terminal in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
(AP)

Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said at a press conference this week that BPI “does not cause polio.”

He said the IPV used in the US is inactive, so it doesn’t change or mutate.

“Therefore, there is no risk of transmission to others,” he said.

What is poliomyelitis?

Poliomyelitis or poliomyelitis is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. According to health experts, it can cause muscle weakness and in some cases paralysis and death.

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Doctors explained to Fox Digital News that the poliovirus is most commonly transmitted when contaminated feces from an infected person enter the body through the mouth, usually from hands that have been contaminated with feces.

It can also be inhaled through saliva and transmitted orally.

This 2014 illustration made available by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) depicts a polio virus particle.

This 2014 illustration made available by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) depicts a polio virus particle.
(CDC via Sara Poser, Meredith Boiter Newlove/AP)

Rockland County experts explained during a press conference that polio is highly contagious.

A person can spread the virus and therefore infect others – even if that person is not sick.

LONDON’s sewage samples contain the polio virus, officials say.

A person may start showing symptoms after 30 days. According to health experts, these symptoms can range from mild flu-like symptoms, including vomiting, fever, headache and muscle stiffness, to severe symptoms such as muscle weakness and even paralysis.

Rupert explained during the conference that children in the US typically receive the inactivated polio vaccine at 2 months of age, followed by a second dose at 4 months and a third dose at 6 to 18 months.

Symptoms can range from mild flu-like symptoms — including vomiting, fever, headache and muscle stiffness — to severe symptoms such as muscle weakness and even paralysis.

They then get a sponsor between the ages of 4 and 6. This is a mandatory vaccination before going to school.

Dr. Aaron Glatt, MD, MACP, is chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Long Island, New York.

Glatt is also the department chair. A Mount Sinai health official – who was not involved in the Rockland County incident but spoke to Fox Digital News about live vaccines like OPV and the possibility of contracting polio from someone who received a live vaccine.

A young boy receives polio vaccine drops during an anti-polio campaign in a poor neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, on July 20, 2020.

A young boy receives polio vaccine drops during an anti-polio campaign in a poor neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, on July 20, 2020.
(REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/File Photo)

“An unvaccinated or debilitated person is immune to polio in this situation and should not be around someone who has recently had OPV,” he said.

“Theoretically, polio virus can be shed up to two months after receiving OPV.”

Glatt explained that in the US, health professionals choose IPV so that if children contract polio, they will develop immunity without passing the virus on to others.

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Dr. Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone in New York City, told Fox Digital News that OPV is still used because it is seen as an important tool in the fight against polio worldwide because it is easy to administer. , produces cheap and slimy immunity.

In the US, health professionals prefer IPV so that if children contract polio, they will be immune without passing the virus on to others.

A hospital epidemiologist did not know the details of the Rockland County case, but said OPV could be transmitted to others.

Lighter told Fox Digital News in an email: “In rare cases (1 in a million), OPV can cause paralysis in immunocompromised children. The US has stopped using OPV because of the very rare effects on immunocompromised children.”

A medical worker is shown making the vaccine on March 1, 2022.

A medical worker is shown making the vaccine on March 1, 2022.
(AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Lighter cautioned that people with compromised immune systems should talk to their doctor about vaccinations. Although OPV is not recommended in the U.S., other vaccines such as measles, mumps, rubella, or chicken pox are live attenuated vaccines, according to an infectious disease specialist.

People who are immunocompromised should discuss what precautions they should take if they should encounter a child or person with any type of live vaccine, Laites said.

Polio vaccination is important, Lighter stressed.

Poliomyelitis was virtually eradicated in 1955 thanks to a vaccine developed.

“Polio vaccination is one of the greatest achievements of mankind,” he said. “Prior to the vaccine, there were about 50,000 cases of paralysis in the United States, and 3,000 deaths from polio each year in the United States.”

Health experts interviewed by Fox Digital News say polio has been virtually eradicated thanks to a vaccine developed in 1955.

Almost all children who receive all recommended doses of polio vaccine — 99 out of 100 — are protected against the disease, according to the CDC.

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On its website, the CDC said the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979 thanks to widespread use of the polio vaccine. The CDC also said the best way to prevent the disease is to keep the population highly immune to polio through vaccination.

Those who have not been vaccinated should talk to their doctors

The New York State Department of Health and the Rockland County Health Department have advised doctors and health care providers to monitor for additional cases.

Officials say those who have already been vaccinated are at lower risk.

Health officials said this week that they are concerned about possible vaccine hesitancy due to the COVID pandemic.

However, unvaccinated people, including pregnant women, people who have not previously completed the polio vaccine series, or members of the public who are concerned that they may have been infected should consult their doctor about getting vaccinated.

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Health officials said this week that they are concerned about possible vaccine hesitancy due to the COVID pandemic.

State and county officials are encouraging residents to get the polio vaccine.

“Vaccines have protected our health against old and new viruses for decades,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Wasan said in a press release.

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“In fact, the urgency of safe and effective vaccines has always been here, and we New Yorkers need protection against completely preventable viruses like polio.”

Polio vaccination clinics were held last week and next week.

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