The resurgence of poliomyelitis worries in the USA


  • 86% of children six months to five years old have received three doses of the vaccine in New York, which means that 14% are not fully protected.
  • The poliovirus variant detected last June in London would be less virulent than the natural virus.
  • It could nevertheless cause serious symptoms, especially in unvaccinated patients, such as paralysis of the limbs.

It hadn’t happened for almost ten years: this summer, a case of polio was recorded in the USA, while the last one dates back to 2013. “It’s frighteningtestifies Brittany Strickland, a 33-year-old woman who has just received her first dose of vaccine against the polio virus. We didn’t think it would happen here“.

A case of polio

Brittany Strickland lives in Pomona, a town in New York’s Rockland County, located 50 kilometers north of Manhattan. It is in this county that, in mid-July, a proven case of polio was recorded. The person affected was a young New Yorker but he had not traveled abroad, suggesting that the disease was transmitted locally in the county. And the symptoms were very important: he was struck with paralysis.


My mother was against vaccines and I realized that as a child I had not been vaccinated against polio“, continues Brittany Strickland. Polio – or poliomyelitis – is a highly contagious disease caused by poliovirus, a virus that invades the nervous system. This disease is characterized by paralysis – often irreversible – of the motor muscles of the limbs and, sometimes, of the respiratory muscles.

Polio almost gone

According the Pasteur Institute, if no palliative measure is put in place, between 5 and 10% of paralyzed patients die of asphyxiation due to paralysis of the muscles providing ventilation. Nevertheless, since the development of effective vaccines and, above all, compulsory vaccination in many countries, poliomyelitis has completely disappeared from the Western world… Well, almost.

A disturbing discovery

In August, New York health authorities warned that the polio virus had been detected in the city’s sewage and that it “traffic(ait) pprobably locally“. A discovery judged “disturbing but not surprising“.

Oral vaccine

Indeed, in rare cases, it is possible that unvaccinated people are contaminated by others who have received oral poliomyelitis vaccine. The latter, formerly administered by ampoule, has been banned in the United States since 2000.

To get vaccinated

Health authorities believe that the young New Yorker’s infection in Rockland came from someone who had been vaccinated orally. Faced with this resurgence, New Yorkers who have not yet been vaccinated are urged to do so as soon as possible.

Virus detected in London

Last June, the World Health Organization revealed that a poliovirus variant derived from oral vaccines had been detected in sewage in London.

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