The recent paralytic polio case in an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County, N.Y. and wastewater samples from communities near the patient’s residence meet the World Health Organization’s criteria for circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday. Genetic sequences from the virus in the patient and wastewater specimens have been linked to wastewater samples in Jerusalem and London, indicating community transmission, CDC said.
 
Thirty other countries have circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, which is not caused by the polio vaccine but occurs when local immunity to poliovirus is low enough to allow prolonged transmission of the original weakened virus in the oral polio vaccine. Oral polio vaccine has not been used or licensed in the U.S. since 2000 but continues to be used in some countries. N.Y. Governor Kathy Hochul last week declared a state emergency to help expand vaccination efforts and surveillance. 
 
“Polio vaccination is the safest and best way to fight this debilitating disease and it is imperative that people in these communities who are unvaccinated get up to date on polio vaccination right away,” said Dr. José R. Romero, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We cannot emphasize enough that polio is a dangerous disease for which there is no cure.”

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