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Public health experts sound alarm bells as new cases of polio emerge

Public health experts sound alarm bells as new cases of polio emerge


William Brangham:

That’s right, Amna.

In the past few months, polio has returned to the Western Hemisphere. Israel has detected eight cases this year. And the virus was found in London’s wastewater system. Now I am back here in America. In July, an unvaccinated man in Rockland County, New York became paralyzed with this preventable but incurable virus.

Sewage samples taken in New York City show that the poliovirus likely had already spread there for months.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado joins us again to discuss this. She is Chair of the Infectious Diseases Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University.

Dr. Maldonado, nice to have you back on NewsHour.

An unvaccinated man in New York has contracted polio and developed paralysis, and there is evidence that polio is circulating in New York’s wastewater.

Please help me understand the context. How embarrassing are these two examples?

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, Chair, Infectious Diseases Board, American Academy of Pediatrics: Yes.

I don’t think people who are vaccinated need to worry. But for those who haven’t been vaccinated, this is a red flag. The reason is that in the United States he did not have polio from the 1970s to the 1980s. In 1994, the Western Hemisphere was declared polio-free.

So the fact that we’re starting to see cases of paralytic disease, as well as polio in wastewater, is worrying about ongoing community transmission. There is a risk of developing paralysis.




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