World Polio Day, focus on New York for the first time in decades

A Rockland County man was diagnosed over the summer with the dangerous and virulent illness
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Dan Smith

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Image: A polio vaccine shot is given at Rockland County’s Yeager Health Center in Pomona July 25, 2022.

Yahoo News – Nancy Cutler, Rockland/Westchester Journal News

World Polio Day is being marked on Monday. Declared in 1988, Oct. 24 each year highlights global efforts toward a polio-free world. But this year, the focus is also on New York.

A Rockland County man was diagnosed over the summer with the dangerous and virulent illness, once considered eradicated in the U.S. Circulation of the virus has now been documented in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Nassau counties, as well as in parts of New York City.

A special team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health have remained in Rockland to focus on efforts to combat polio.

The key, they say, is to boost low vaccination rates in Rockland and other places.

Never vaccinated against polio

In July, Rockland County officials announced that a young man had been paralyzed by polio. The case was alarming because for every case of paralytic polio, there are likely hundreds of other people who had the virus but were asymptomatic or suffered flu-like symptoms. Its spread can be silent and rapid.

In a fraction of cases, the virus can cause paralysis and lead to death.

The man, who suffers permanent paralysis in his legs, had never been vaccinated against the virus.

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