The first U.S. polio case was discovered in nearly a decade. Should you worry?

The first U.S. polio case was discovered in nearly a decade. Should you worry?

Published July 23, 2022
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A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist works with polio virus material. The first case of polio in nearly decade was detected in a New York patient Thursday. The individual was unvaccinated and likely contracted the virus from an individual outside of the country. James Gathany/CDC hide caption

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist works with polio virus material. The first case of polio in nearly decade was detected in a New York patient Thursday. The individual was unvaccinated and likely contracted the virus from an individual outside of the country.

The New York State Department of Health said the unvaccinated individual from Rockland County likely contracted the virus from someone outside of the country who had taken an oral polio vaccine, which hasn’t been authorized for use in the U.S. since 2000.

Over time, this weaker strain of polio can mutate and behave more like a natural version of the virus and spread to unvaccinated people. This is defined as a vaccine-derived polio virus case. Had the individual in New York been vaccinated, Eulberg said, this wouldn’t have happened.