What to Know About Polio: Vaccines, Signs and How It Spreads

The C.D.C. estimates that one in 200 individuals with polio expertise paralysis or weak point within the arms, legs or each. Paralysis usually happens on one aspect of the physique, mentioned Dr. Gail Shust, a pediatric infectious illness specialist at NYU Langone Well being. In uncommon circumstances, polio-related paralysis may be deadly, because the virus might have an effect on muscle tissue that help respiration.

Even after somebody recovers from polio, they’ll develop muscle ache, weak point or paralysis 15 to 40 years later. Kids who recuperate from polio might expertise post-polio syndrome as adults, with muscle weak point, fatigue and joint ache setting in a long time after their preliminary an infection. It’s not clear why just some individuals develop post-polio syndrome, however those that skilled extreme polio circumstances could also be extra inclined.

Polio may be very contagious. It spreads from individual to individual — usually, when somebody is involved with the feces of an contaminated particular person after which touches their mouth. That is notably regarding for kids underneath 5, who, Dr. Esper mentioned, might battle with hand hygiene. “Each grownup who has youngsters is aware of that’s how germs are unfold,” he mentioned. Much less generally, polio may be unfold when droplets from an contaminated particular person sneezing or coughing enter somebody’s mouth.

And as with Covid-19, it’s potential to unfold the virus even when somebody doesn’t have signs.

The oral polio vaccine, which helped the US get rid of polio and isn’t administered within the nation anymore, incorporates weakened dwell poliovirus. It’s secure and efficient, however in very uncommon circumstances, the weakened virus from the vaccine can revert to a type that may trigger paralysis in different individuals. That is primarily a priority for unvaccinated individuals, whom the vaccine-derived virus can unfold to, and immunocompromised individuals, who might not have developed immunity from the vaccine. In exceptionally uncommon circumstances — about one per each 2.4 million doses of the oral vaccine — the weakened dwell virus could cause paralysis in the one who obtained the vaccine, mentioned Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine knowledgeable at Kids’s Hospital of Philadelphia. However the chief fear is that the vaccine virus can flow into and unfold all through under-immunized communities.

Well being officers in New York confirmed that the particular person in Rockland County was uncovered to somebody who obtained the oral polio vaccine, which mutated to a pathogenic type of the virus. The particular person in Rockland County was not vaccinated, making them weak to changing into sick with polio.

The oral polio vaccine has not been administered in the US since 2000. At this time, the polio vaccine in the US is a extremely efficient shot, which doesn’t comprise dwell virus, in contrast to the oral vaccine.


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