Paralytic polio case confirmed, concern of hundreds of virus infections in New York

The American health authorities warn the population about the presence of this strain and invite vaccination.

The disease that was supposed to have been eradicated in some countries has reappeared. Certain viral strains have been identified in certain countries such as the United Kingdom, Pakistan, in Africa…

And the United States is concerned about possible spread after a paralytic polio case was confirmed in New York’s Rockland County in late June, as the Center for Infectious Disease Research and policy reports, the Cidrap.

The infected person is a young man who went to the hospital after the paralysis of one of his legs. The diagnosis was quickly made.

The unvaccinated patient was exposed to a strain of the virus, but since he had not traveled, he was contaminated in the United States.

A contagious and dangerous disease

As the Pasteur Institute stipulates, poliomyelitis is a “disease very contagious caused by a virus (poliovirus) that invades the nervous system and who can cause irreversible paralysis in a few hours“.

The first ones symptoms are flu-like : fever, fatigue, headache before vomiting and stiffness in the neck and paralysis of several limbs.

This virus is mainly transmitted by fecal-oral route especially through contaminated water.

The alert of the New York authorities

The New York State Department of Health on Thursday, August 4, alerted the public to the presence of poliovirus in sewage samples in several different places and invites children and adults who are not vaccinated to do so quickly.

The health authorities specify that the spread of the disease is to be taken seriously.

“Sequence analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that seven positive samples from both Rockland County (three) and Orange County (four) are genetically linked to the individual case of previously identified paralytic polio in a Rockland County resident. These findings provide further evidence of local – not international – transmission of a polio virus that can cause paralysis and potential community spread.”

Possible mutations on the isolated strain

The strain which was identified and which contaminated the young man is close to that used in the oral vaccine against poliomyelitis, the OPV which contains active strains of the virus which do not make you sick.

But if these strains mutatethey can become toxic again. So if a person comes into contact with such a strain that has mutated and they are not vaccinated, they can contract the disease.

This oral vaccine administered in certain countries for its lower cost, is not the one used in the United States, nor in Europe, which have opted for an inactive version of the virus.

The urgency of getting vaccinated to prevent spread

The New York State Health Commissioner has specified that it is necessary to expect hundreds of infections.

“Based on past polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every case of paralyzing poliomyelitis observed, he there may be hundreds more infected“.

Information that is not very reassuring, but which shows the need to be vaccinated, to maintain immunity at a high level. People who are not vaccinated are therefore at risk of contamination.

The spread of the virus is being closely monitored by the health authorities. An investigation is underway to trace the source of the contamination.

Remember that since 2015, a hundred cases have been identified worldwide and that before vaccination, the disease affected more than 600,000 children per year.

Moreover, the vaccination program launched by the WHO serves to eradicate the disease.

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