Polio threat virtually non-existent for those vaccinated in the Bay Area

Despite the concern aroused a case of poliomyelitis discovered in New York State in July, Bay Area infectious disease experts say the risk to the vaccinated public is virtually non-existent – although the fact that any case has emerged underscores the need to ensure that people, especially children, have been vaccinated.

“I would say there is mild to moderate concern,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, but “it all depends on whether your children have been vaccinated or whether you have been vaccinated “.

He said that in the larger scheme, cases detected elsewhere are not a concern due to very high vaccination rates in the United States – most children are vaccinated at an early age – meaning the virus hits a wall of immunity and is almost always unable to spread.

However, there is reason to be vigilant.

The The New York Times reported that a case of poliomyelitis has been confirmed in a 20-year-old man from Rockland County who is part of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The disease has since been detected in New York City wastewater, raising further concerns.

Some Orthodox communities give up vaccination, meaning “it’s not at all unexpected” that a case could occur, said UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. George Rutherford. The Rockland County infection was one such case, According to the CDC.

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