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New York reports first U.S. polio case since 2013

The New York State Department of Health reported the first U.S. case of polio since 2013 on Thursday, urging individuals to ensure they are vaccinated against the virus. File Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The New York State Department of Health reported the first U.S. case of polio since 2013 on Thursday, urging individuals to ensure they are vaccinated against the virus. File Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

July 21 (UPI) -- The New York State Department of Health on Thursday reported a case of polio, the first in the United States in nearly a decade.

The case was reported in Rockland County, on the west side of the Hudson River, the health department said in a statement.

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Officials confirmed the case showed revertant polio Sabin type 2 virus, indicating it likely came through transmission from an individual who received an older form of oral polio vaccine that hasn't been administered in the United States since 2000.

"Based on what we know about this case, and polio in general, the Department of Health strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated or boosted with the FDA-approved IPV polio vaccine as soon as possible," New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said.

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Rockland County and New York State health officials on Thursday urged clinicians to be on the lookout for additional cases.

"We only have the one case. Let's hope that's all we find," Rockland County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said in a news conference.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said the infected patient is not contagious, as officials urged those who have not received a polio vaccine to get vaccinated.

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"Right now, the risk to the vaccinated public is low, but experts are working to understand how and where this individual was infected," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

The New York Health Department noted that the polio vaccine is part of the CDC's standard immunization schedule but said Rockland County will host a polio vaccination clinic beginning Friday at the Pomona Health Complex in Pomona, N.Y.

A second clinic will be held on Monday at the same location.

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"Anyone who is unvaccinated -- including those who are pregnant -- has not completed their polio vaccine series or are concerned they might have been exposed, should get vaccinated at the clinics," the department said. "Individuals who are already vaccinated but are at risk of exposure should receive a booster, which will also be available at the clinics."

Polio can cause permanent paralysis in about 5 out of every 1,000 cases among unvaccinated individuals. Mild and flu-like symptoms including fatigue, fever, headaches, stiffness, muscle pain and vomiting can take up to 30 days to appear, during which time an infected individual can spread the virus to others.

The last polio case reported in the United States occurred in 2013 in a 7-month-old who had recently moved to the United States from India.

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Pakistan experienced an outbreak of polio that infected at least eight children last month, tied to parents falsely affirming that they and their children have been vaccinated.

Britain's Health Security Agency last month also reported it had found samples of "vaccine-derived" poliovirus 2 in sewage samples suggesting "it is likely there has been some spread between closely linked individuals" in North and East London.

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