On Thursday, New York health officials revealed that a case of polio was recently recorded in Rockland County, the first time the highly infectious virus has been reported in the U.S. since 2013.
According to reports, the nearly eradicated disease, which can affect the nervous system and cause muscle weakness, is incredibly contagious and can be dangerous or even fatal for those not vaccinated.
In view of this report, health officials called on New Yorkers to immediately avail themselves of the vaccine for polio.
“The polio vaccine is safe and effective, protecting against this potentially debilitating disease, and it has been part of the backbone of required, routine childhood immunizations recommended by health officials and public health agencies nationwide,” State Health Department Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said.
Studies have shown that people suffering from polio can still spread the virus even if they aren’t sick since symptoms can take up to 30 days to appear.
The typical polio symptoms are fatigue, fever, headache, stiffness, muscle pain, and vomiting.
Health officials said in some of the worst scenarios, polio cases can result in paralysis or death.
It can be recalled that the polio vaccine, first introduced in 1955, led to a national vaccination program that dramatically reduced cases and eventually led to the virus being eliminated in the U.S. by 1979.