A month after traces of the polio virus were detected in London’s sewage, a positive case was recorded yesterday in the United States. This is the first case in almost 10 years, the last dating from 2013.
The person who tested positive lives in Rockland County, 50 km north of Manhattan. His case indicates “a chain of transmission from an individual who received the oral polio vaccine (OPV)”, according to a press release. This vaccine has not been used in the United States since 2000. The virus would therefore originate “from a location outside the United States where OPV is administered”. This vaccine is used in certain countries only such as Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
New York health officials are calling on doctors to watch for possible new cases. They are also urging county residents who are not vaccinated to do so.
Read also: Polio: “We are not immune to seeing diseases that we know reappear”
A highly contagious disease
The polio virus causes poliomyelitis, a highly contagious infectious disease that invades the nervous system. It is manifested by flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, headache), sometimes vomiting, stiff neck and pain in the limbs. Irreversible paralysis (particularly of the legs) occurs in 1 in 200 infections, specifies the World Health Organization. Contamination occurs through the mouth from contaminated water or food.
Read also : Cameroon launches new polio vaccination campaign
Polio nearly eradicated
Polio has been virtually eradicated worldwide. Cases have fallen by 99% since 1988. At that time, polio was still endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases had been recorded.
In the United States, contamination declined in the late 1950s, thanks to the development of a vaccine. The last natural infection dates from 1979.
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