Polio is an Imminent Threat to New York's Public Health
New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced additional steps New York State is taking to address evidence of circulating poliovirus in New York State, including an official declaration to further support local health departments in driving immunizations.
On September 28, 2022, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett declared poliovirus an imminent threat to public health in New York State.
This declaration expands the availability of funding and resources to support local health departments in establishing immunization clinics, deploying vaccines to health care partners, and conducting outreach to unvaccinated and under-vaccinated New Yorkers to increase immunization rates, particularly in the areas affected by the poliovirus and among children.
"From day one, we've taken an aggressive public health approach to combat the spread of polio and ensure New Yorkers are protected," Governor Hochul commented in a media release.
"This declaration will bolster our ongoing efforts to protect New Yorkers against paralytic disease, prevent spread, and support our public health partners."
Previously, Governor Hochul declared a state disaster emergency amid evidence of circulating poliovirus in Rockland County, NY, on September 9, 2022.
Following the identification of a case of paralytic polio in Rockland County, the state launched wastewater surveillance and found repeated evidence of poliovirus detected in samples collected from upstate Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan Counties, as well as seen in samples collected from New York City and Nassau County.
Commissioner Bassett added, "Thanks to long-established school immunization requirements, the vast majority of adults, and most children, are fully vaccinated against polio."
"Our focus remains on ensuring the on-time administration of polio vaccination among young children and catching kids and adults up, who are unimmunized and under-immunized in the affected areas."
"That work continues at full force."
Recent data issued by New York indicates the state remains significantly under-vaccinated (78.96%) against polio.
And certain counties (Rockland 60.34%, Nassau 79.15%) are well below the U.S. CDC's recommendation of 95% as of August 1, 2022.
The U.S. CDC says 'paralysis caused by poliovirus cannot be cured, but it can be prevented through vaccination.'
'Most of the U.S. population have protection against paralytic polio because they were vaccinated during childhood.'
However, adults are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus if they have not completed their polio vaccination series.
'If you or your child have not been vaccinated against polio or have an incomplete series of the polio vaccine, you should talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated.'
Furthermore, the CDC confirmed on September 28, 2022, 'At this time, polio boosters are not recommended for travel within the USA.'
Two single-antigen inactivated poliovirus (IPV) products are currently licensed in the USA, but only one vaccine, Imovax Polio® Ipol® Vaccine, is now distributed by clinics and pharmacies.
Five combination vaccines contain the IPV vaccine. DTaP-HepB-IPV (Pediarix), DTaP-IPV/Hib (Pentacel), DTaP-IPV (Kinrix), DTaP-IPV (Quadracel), and DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepB (Vaxelis) are licensed by the U.S. FDA, and available for use in the USA.
Polio-containing vaccines are generally low-cost or covered by commercial, state, and federal programs.
New York's poliovirus detections have been genetically related to similar findings in London, England, and Israel during 2022.
Unfortunately, because of these poliovirus detections, the USA recently joined a list of about 30 other countries where circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus has been confirmed in 2022.
Furthermore, a polio-like illness, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), an uncommon but serious neurologic condition that affects the nervous system in children, has been confirmed in 19 cases in 2022.
Previous AFM cases have occurred in 49 states, and the District of Columbia reports the CDC.
Additional polio outbreak 2022 news is posted at PrecisionVacciations.com/Polio.
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