The U.S. will expand polio wastewater surveillance to communities with low vaccination rates outside the Recent York City metro area, after an outbreak over the summer left an unvaccinated adult paralyzed and raised questions on how widely the virus could also be circulating.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an announcement Wednesday, said it’ll initially work with health officials in Michigan and Philadelphia to discover communities with low vaccination rates and start testing sewage the in those areas. The CDC said it’s in preliminary discussions with other state and native health departments about expanding testing to other areas of the U.S.
Federal health officials will even expand sewage surveillance for polio to counties which have possible connections to the communities in Recent York where the virus is thought to be circulating. The CDC said the expanded surveillance program will help determine whether poliovirus is present in other parts of the U.S. and direct efforts to spice up vaccination rates in communities which are risk.
The sewage testing will last not less than 4 months once initiated. The CDC described the expanded surveillance program as strategic and limited in focus to certain in danger communities.
The choice by federal health officials to expand polio surveillance comes after an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County, Recent York was left paralyzed after contracting the virus over the summer. The CDC considers a single case of paralysis from polio a public health emergency since it’s so rare and indicates the virus is spreading throughout the community.
Public health officials subsequently confirmed the virus was in reality spreading widely after sewage samples from five other Recent York counties tested positive. The Rockland patient didn’t travel internationally, which suggests they almost actually picked up the virus from another person locally.
The virus spreading within the Recent York area is expounded to a strain utilized in the oral polio vaccine. The U.S. stopped using this vaccine greater than 20 years ago since it uses a live but weakened virus that in rare instances can mutate and develop into virulent again, posing a threat to the unvaccinated.
Other countries do still use the oral polio vaccine since it is affordable, effective, easy to manage and customarily protected. The U.S. uses an inactivated polio vaccine administered as a series of shots. It uses killed virus that can’t replicate or mutate.
Although the Rockland County patient is believed to have caught polio through local spread, the chain of transmission likely originated abroad from someone who received the oral vaccine.
The CDC said the danger to most of the people is low because greater than 92% of Americans are vaccinated against polio. The vaccine may be very effective at stopping severe disease and paralysis, though it doesn’t stop transmission of the virus.
The oral vaccine may be very effective at blocking transmission and is usually used to crush outbreaks. The CDC is holding discussions on possibly introducing a more recent version of the oral vaccine, which is more stable and carries less a risk of mutation, to handle rare outbreaks equivalent to the one in Recent York.