On July 21, 2022, the first verified case of polio in the United States in a decade was discovered in New York. According to health officials, the virus was found in Rockland County and was transmitted by someone who had gotten the oral polio vaccine.

Since the United States has not used the oral form of the vaccine in almost 20 years, experts suspect the virus may have originated abroad. National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is celebrated every August, thus, the resurgence of the polio virus is particularly timely.

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An annual event, NIAM highlights the need for vaccinations across the lifespan. Despite of the lack of treatment, the polio vaccine has been shown to be 99% effective.

The polio vaccine is recommended for all children and adolescents and is given in three separate doses by the CDC. Everyone who has not been vaccinated against polio yet is being strongly encouraged to do so by the authorities.

Exactly What Is Polio?

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Many persons who get the poliovirus do not show any symptoms, despite the fact that the disease can have devastating effects on the neurological system and cause muscle paralysis.

Even though it has been prevalent since the 1800s, the disease really started to spread in the 1940s. Many thousands of people were rendered unable to work every year, and summer was often the peak season for illnesses.

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Eighty percent of a group of 100 children who all contracted polio would show no signs of illness. The remaining 20%, on the other hand, would show signs of what the average person would identify as a viral disease, including fever, general malaise, and perhaps diarrhea.

Paralytic polio, which causes paralysis, commonly in the legs, would affect a significantly fewer percentage of affected people. When the paralysis of the polio virus affects the muscles used for breathing, the result can be lethal. The last recorded instance of spontaneous infection in the United States was in 1979, mostly due to the polio vaccine.

What Repercussions Does Polio Have on Kids?

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Although polio’s effects are the same in both children and adults, the virus is more easily disseminated from child to child due to the fact that it is transmitted through feces. Young people are often stereotyped as being unclean since they lack the life experience to know otherwise.

A youngster can transfer the virus via the feculent-oral route if they already have it and they go to the restroom without washing their hands. This means that the virus can be spread through feces, with the recipient being infected when they put contaminated hands to their mouth.

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It is less typical for polio to be transferred by a person’s respiratory secretions, such as a sneeze or cough.

When Is It Safe to Vaccinate Kids Against Polio?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 93% of Americans older than two have received all recommended doses of the polio vaccine.

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The first dose of the polio vaccine is typically given to children at two months of age, the second at four months, and the third at six to fourteen months. At the age of four or six, when most kids begin elementary school, is when you should give them their fourth dose. Attendance at public schools in all 50 states and DC is contingent upon proof of immunization, including against polio.

Mild side effects, including injection site soreness, are associated with immunization. Very few people are allergic to any of the substances. The vaccination is an impressive means of defense due to its near-complete efficacy and little adverse effects.

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It’s clear that the frequency with which people get their recommended vaccinations has decreased. And it’s not because people are more reluctant to get immunizations, in my opinion. As a result of the epidemic, I think people are increasingly reluctant to go to large gatherings, and they are also delaying preventative health measures like getting their kids vaccinated.

The recent polio case in New York highlights the significance of vaccination. Two counties in New York’s wastewater have tested positive for polio, indicating that the virus has likely been circulating for months.

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Those who have received the vaccine can rest easy despite the recent outbreak; they will be protected for the rest of their lives. One case may not seem like much, but it could signal a far bigger problem for people without the vaccine.

Although the recent polio case in New York is cause for concern, specialists assure us that those who have been immunized need not worry. Don’t hesitate to ask your child’s pediatrician or other healthcare practitioners any questions you may have about your child’s immunization history.

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