You probably recall reading in JUCM News that a case of paralytic polio occurred in Rockland County, NY recently. It was such an anomaly that the case also garnered widespread attention among national media. As noted in an article just published by JAMA Network it’s likely, based on analysis of the unvaccinated patient’s genomic sequencing, that the virus had “been circulating under the radar for up to a year,” however. Not long after that highly publicized case, poliovirus was detected in wastewater tested in Rockland and Orange counties in New York, as well as New York City. The article also included a reminder that poliovirus is symptomatic only about 25% of the time (and even then, it causes only flu-like illness). Between 1% and 5% of patients with polio may develop meningitis; only 0.05% to 0.5% develop paralysis. The sobering implication of that, as Yvonne Maldonado, MD is quoted as saying, is that one case “is a red flag that tells you there could be 100 people or more in the community who are not showing symptoms.” Dr. Maldonado heads the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stanford University Medical School. Polio is just one vaccine-preventable virus capable of resurgence. For a broader look at others, read Unexpected Viral Illness in an Urgent Care Setting: The Re-Emergence of Mumps, Measles, and Varicella in the JUCM archive.

That New York Polio Case May Be Just the Tip of the Iceberg