What New York's polio case means for the US

While health experts have referred to New York's polio case as the "tip of the iceberg," a national outbreak similar to COVID-19 or monkeypox is not expected, USA Today reported Aug. 19.

Widespread transmission is unlikely because the U.S. has a 90 percent vaccination rate for polio. Experts predict the virus will instead spread more locally among communities with lower vaccination rates.

"What worries me is the communities where vaccination is suboptimal," Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, told USA Today. "It is in those communities where you're likely to get spread rather than communities with coverage."

States require children to be vaccinated before attending childcare facilities, but pockets of unvaccinated residents persist. In Rockland County, N.Y., where the case was reported, only around 60 percent of children younger than  2 have received the vaccine, according to data from the New York State Department of Health. Dr. El-Sadr said vaccination rates 90 percent are ideal. 

 

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