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First Polio Case Confirmed in U.S. Since 2013

New York and Rockland County health officials confirmed a polio case Thursday, noting the patient was not vaccinated against the highly contagious virus. Authorities note that although the patient recently traveled through Europe, he does reside in a community with a history of vaccine hesitancy which suffered a measles outbreak in 2019.

The New York State Department of Health initially confirmed the polio case Thursday, according to Spectrum News.

The location for the infection remains unknown, but the 20-year-old patient recently traveled to Hungary and Poland and was hospitalized in June, according to The Washington Post. Physicians initially believed the patient suffered from acute flaccid myelitis, which can cause spinal cord inflammation and severe paralysis. New York health officials later explained that a polio test clarified the symptoms, indicating the particular strain did not originate in the U.S. The male is now discharged and living at home. Officials say he no longer contagious.

New York health officials explained that polio infections typically occur through the mouth or saliva. The virus is extremely contagious and can be spread by those not showing any symptoms, which are flu-like in nature.

The Post notes that the polio vaccine was initially introduced to the public in 1955 and the last known naturally occurring case in the U.S. happened in 1979. There has not been a domestic case since 2013.


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