Science

First U.S. case of polio in 10 years – Science et Avenir

Polio, sad return. After London last month and, of course, in Pakistan, where it never disappeared, this time the polio virus was found in New York.

A highly contagious disease

According to the New York State Health Authority, this case, the very first seen since 2013, concerns a young, unvaccinated American man who experienced his first symptoms about a month ago and is now partially paralyzed. He has not traveled recently and therefore may have been infected in the United States, probably from a person who returned from overseas and was vaccinated with an attenuated strain of the virus.

You must know that in the face of this terrible pathology, which is extremely contagious due to a virus that attacks the nervous system, especially in children under the age of 5, two types of vaccines have been available since 1955: on the one hand, the so-called inactivated vaccines (or killed) administered by injection and used mainly in the so-called rich countries. On the other hand, live attenuated orally administered vaccines (drops on the tongue, easier to use) are being used in developing countries.

But, as the Institut Pasteur explains on its website, the main disadvantage of the latter is “the possibility of introducing into the environment live strains of poliovirus, of course attenuated, but which can create chains of transmission in conditions of low vaccination coverage.

Increased monitoring

The highly contagious polio virus belongs to the picornavirus family and belongs to the genus enteroviruses. There are three serotypes of poliovirus (1, 2, and 3), each of which is capable of inducing disease, which is transmitted mainly by the fecal-oral route. According to the ongoing investigation into this first case, it will be a Sabin 2 virus.

Credits: Kun TIAN, Gal ROMA/AFP

New York City health authorities have asked doctors to monitor for possible new cases, asking county residents who have not been vaccinated to do so. For information, the polio vaccine requires revaccination in adults every 20 years, starting at age 25, and then every 10 years, starting at age 65.

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