AUG 07, 2022 8:24 AM PDT

Paralytic Polio Case ID'ed in New York & Health Officials are Concerned

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Polio is a disease caused by the poliovirus. Polio can cause flu-like symptoms like nausea, headache, fever, and sore throat, usually in about a quarter of infected individuals. Around one in 200 people that are infected will get a more severe disease, and their illness can impact the spinal cord and brain, and may cause paralysis or death. The virus is spread through direct contact, or you can inhale it.

An illustration of a poliovirus particle, each consisting of 60-copies of capsid polypeptides, designated as VP1 (viral protein1) (Pink), VP2 (Green), VP3(Purple) and VP4 (not shown). / Credit: CDC/ Sarah Poser / Photo Credit: Meredith Boyter Newlove, M.S.

The CDC has long recommended that children get vaccinated for polio. Since 2000, children in the United States have been given the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which is administered as a shot in the arm or leg, depending on age. Some other countries still use the oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is considered to be very safe and effective. OPV is made from a live, weakened variation of the polio virus, a modified polio Sabin type 2 virus.

On some very rare occasions, however, the attenuated virus that is used in OPV can pick up genetic mutations that makes it virulent. This seems to have happened recently. Because vaccine hesitancy has become a problem in some communities, the mutated virus was then transmitted to another, unvaccinated person.

It's thought that a person who was vaccinated with OPV in another country transmitted infectious poliovirus to an unvaccinated young adult in Rockland County, New York. That unvaccinated individual then presented with symptoms of weakness and paralysis.

Clinicians and scientists can isolate the polio virus from infected individuals to determine whether a case derives from OPV.

Once the patient was identified, officials began wastewater surveillance to check for more poliovirus. It was then detected in eleven samples, which were linked to the case that had already been identified. This suggests that community spread is ongoing, and health officials are concerned. They are urging anyone who is not vaccinated for polio to get vaccinated immediately. Rockland County, New York has a low vaccination rate of about 60 percent.

Work by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has also linked the Rockland County case to poliovirus detected in wastewater in London and Jerusalem, so it might be far more widespread than we knew.

The treatments for polio can only relieve some symptoms. If polio causes paralysis, that becomes permanent, and there is no cure.

New York State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett noted that the virus has been detected in sewage, and that may show that a larger outbreak is occurring. “Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” Bassett said.

People who are vaccinated for polio should not be concerned.

Sources: CDC, New York State Department of Health, CNN

About the Author
BS
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUN 20, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Weed and your lungs: The latest information
JUN 20, 2022
Weed and your lungs: The latest information
How does cannabis affect your lungs? More research is coming out - here's the latest info.
JUL 04, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Scientists Urge Study of Bacteria in Melting Glaciers
JUL 04, 2022
Scientists Urge Study of Bacteria in Melting Glaciers
Globally, temperatures are on the rise. Between the years of 2009 and 2019, glaciers around the world lost an average of ...
AUG 03, 2022
Microbiology
Giant Viruses Make a Nucleus Similar to Those in Our Cells
AUG 03, 2022
Giant Viruses Make a Nucleus Similar to Those in Our Cells
The discovery of giant viruses, some of which infect bacterial cells, has changed what we knew about microbes. Image cre ...
AUG 04, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
Massive Gene Transfer From Bacteria to Fly is Discovered
AUG 04, 2022
Massive Gene Transfer From Bacteria to Fly is Discovered
Researchers used new long-read genetic sequencing technology to show that there are bacterial genomes within the genome ...
SEP 15, 2022
Immunology
How a Cancer-Causing Virus Evades Human Immunity
SEP 15, 2022
How a Cancer-Causing Virus Evades Human Immunity
While our immune system is usually able to identify and destroy pathogenic invaders like bacteria and viruses, those mic ...
SEP 18, 2022
Immunology
Surprising Roles for Hormones in Wound Repair
SEP 18, 2022
Surprising Roles for Hormones in Wound Repair
When we get a bacterial infection in our skin, our immune system responds. It's been thought that inflammatory cells ...
Loading Comments...