Polio vaccination rates are too low in some parts of the United States


During the height of the polio epidemic in 1956

For more than 60 years, vaccines against the poliovirus have protected virtually everyone in the United States from the disease. Due to an enormously successful polio vaccination campaign beginning in the 1950s when the first polio vaccines became available, by 1979 polio was considered eliminated in the U.S.

Unfortunately, even today, there are communities in the U.S. that have lower-than-necessary polio vaccination rates. Because many people have not been vaccinated, there is now a real possibility of a resurgence of polio in the U.S….

…In July 2022, a man from Rockland County, New York, was diagnosed with polio, the first such diagnosis in the U.S. in nearly a decade. The patient – who developed the severe, paralytic form of the disease – had been exposed to an altered live vaccine strain from overseas.

Then on Sept. 9, 2022, New York declared a state of emergency due to ongoing poliovirus transmission. As of that date, using wastewater surveillance, officials had identified 57 samples of poliovirus in wastewater from four New York counties. More than half of those were detected in the same county where the adult patient is from, just outside New York City.

As a result of the continued poliovirus detection in wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the U.S. now meets the World Health Organization’s criteria for “a country with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.”

OK. Unless you live near the trouble spots in the WHO report, you’re probably not in trouble. Yet. As long as you’re vaccinated. As long as you’re in a community with vaccination levels that qualify as providing “herd immunity”.

This news article provides lots of info. And the basic premise is the same for any comparable disease. You need to be vaccinated to even be capable of being out of danger.

Hundreds in New York state may be infected with polio virus

New York state health officials have found indications of additional cases of polio virus in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people may be infected with the potentially serious virus…

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today…”

Polio is “a serious and life-threatening disease,” the state health department said. It is highly contagious and can be spread by people who aren’t yet symptomatic. Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection, and can be mild or flu-like. Some people who are infected may become paralyzed or die.

Before the polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, thousands of Americans died in polio outbreaks and tens of thousands, many of them children, were left with paralysis. After a successful vaccination campaign, polio was officially declared eradicated in the U.S. in 1979.

The scariest words I’ve read in decades. I was a schoolkid in a New England factory town during the years of peak polio waves, every summer. I had peers who were infected. Some who died. Some who were paralyzed for life. Commonplace before Dr. Salk’s vaccine.

Nearly Extinct Wild Polio Virus Resurfaces in Malawi


Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP

The nearly extinct disease polio has made an unexpected and unwelcome reappearance in Africa. This week, health officials in the country of Malawi reported a case of wild polio in a young child—the first spotted in the continent in more than five years. World Health Organization officials are now monitoring the situation…

The virus used to infect millions a year and paralyzed tens of thousands of Americans, often children, during major outbreaks around the mid-20th century. With the help of effective vaccines since the 1950s, though, polio has been steadily beaten back. It’s on track to become the second (or possibly third) infectious disease of mankind to be fully wiped out. In 2021, there were only five wild polio cases reported in two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and just a year earlier, the WHO certified that Africa had become wild polio-free, after years of surveillance had found no signs of circulation—both of which makes this recent case all the more disheartening…

“As long as wild polio exists anywhere in the world all countries remain at risk of importation of the virus,” said Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, in a statement. “Following the detection of wild polio in Malawi, we’re taking urgent measures to forestall its potential spread. Thanks to a high level of polio surveillance in the continent and the capacity to quickly detect the virus, we can swiftly launch a rapid response and protect children from the debilitating impact of this disease.”

All you can do is keep at it. Keep vaccinating, keep expanding care and concern in those few parts of the world where this terrible disease remains.

My sister and I were volunteers for the first generation of polio vaccine. I can still see in my mind’s eye the last young man in our neighborhood living out his life on crutches. The last case of polio in the East End of Bridgeport..

Over 34,000 cases of measles in last two months in Eastern Europe

❝ More than 34,000 people across Europe caught measles in the first two months of 2019, with the vast majority of cases in Ukraine, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday as it urged authorities to ensure vulnerable people get vaccinated.

❝ The death toll among 34,300 cases reported across 42 countries in the WHO’s European region reached 13, with the virus killing people in Ukraine – which is suffering a measles epidemic – as well as in Romania and Albania. The risk is that outbreaks may continue to spread, the WHO warned.

❝ Measles is a highly contagious disease that can kill and cause blindness, deafness or brain damage. It can be prevented with two doses of an effective vaccine, but – in part due to pockets of unvaccinated people – it is currently spreading in outbreaks in many parts of the world including in the United States, the Philippines and Thailand…

There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles, and vaccination is the only way to prevent it, the WHO said. Most cases are in unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people.

And if the anti-vaxxers get their political way, we will return to the days of my childhood. Every spring my fellow students would gather in the schoolyard first warm day – look around to see who died or was unable to resume school from one or another disease.

And then we waited for polio in the summer.

Cartoon: Yup, all our presidents should jog

Yup, I remember the arguments about health and fitness conservatives added to all the other reasons they hated FDR. Not as severe as their hatred of him for selling out their class.

Then, they worked just as hard after his death to pass that wonderful reform called “term limits” – which is about as undemocratic as any law the American people have been sold.

In other words, if you’re still popular with the majority of voters after two terms in office, we don’t dare let you run again. Don’t let us have a chance to re-elect you, again – as we did FDR.

Polio emergency declared as war and bandits spread the virus

The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said, as the virus once driven to the brink of extinction mounts a comeback.

Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, and should ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today after a meeting of its emergency committee. It’s only the second time the United Nations agency has declared a public health emergency of international concern, after the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Polio has resurged as military conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns, giving the virus a toehold. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO. There have been 74 cases this year, including 59 in Pakistan, during what is usually polio’s “low season,” the WHO said.

The disease’s spread, if unchecked, “could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious, vaccine-preventable diseases,” Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s assistant director general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration, told reporters in Geneva today. “The consequences of further international spread are particularly acute today given the large number of polio-free but conflict-torn and fragile states which have severely compromised routine immunization services.”

“Conflict makes it very difficult for the vaccinators to get to the children who need vaccine,” David Heymann, a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in an interview before the WHO’s announcement. “It’s been more difficult to finish than had been hoped.”

The polio virus, which is spread through feces, attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis within hours, and death in as many as 10 percent of its victims. There is no cure. The disease can be prevented by vaccines

The resurgence of the virus “reminds us that, until it’s eradicated, it’s going to spread internationally and it’s going to find and paralyze susceptible kids,” Aylward said.

Resurgence, as well, of the question: what holds back progress for most of the people living on this planet? Is it stupidity or ignorance? My answer changes from week to week.

It takes a special kind of stupidity after all to make uninformed and ignorant decisions. Whether the ignorance is religion-based, hatred of furriners, paranoid rejection of science and info from educated folks who obviously don’t live in your own neighborhood/state/region/country/continent – doesn’t matter a whole boatload. Killing your kin and letting your children die sounds mostly stupid to me.

Whooping cough epidemic hits Washington State

Whooping cough, or pertussis, a highly infectious respiratory disease once considered doomed by science, has struck Washington State this spring with a severity that health officials say could surpass the toll of any year since the 1940s, before a vaccine went into wide use.

Although no deaths have been reported so far this year, the state has declared an epidemic and public health officials say the numbers are staggering: 1,284 cases through early May, the most in at least three decades and 10 times last year’s total at this time, 128.

The response to the epidemic has been hampered by the recession, which has left state and local health departments on the front lines of defense weakened by years of sustained budget cuts…

Did you think Republicans and Blue Dog Dems were going to cut funds for Naval Bases in Washington State?

Skagit county’s top medical officer, Dr. Howard Leibrand, who is also a full-time emergency room physician, said that in the crushing triage of a combined health crisis and budget crisis, he had gone so far as to urge local physicians to stop testing patients to confirm a whooping cough diagnosis.

If the signs are there, he said…doctors should simply treat patients with antibiotics. The pertussis test can cost up to $400 and delay treatment by days. About 14.6 percent of Skagit County residents have no health insurance, according to a state study conducted last year, up from 11.6 percent in 2008…

State health officials estimate that because of incomplete testing and the assumption that many people with mild cases are not seeking medical treatment, perhaps as few as one in five pertussis cases is being recorded and tracked, suggesting that the outbreak is far more widespread than the numbers indicate.

Pertussis was once a dreaded disease of childhood — killing 5,000 to 10,000 Americans a year from the 1920s through the 1940s — but is now a risk mostly to infants, to whom it is fatal in about 1 percent of cases. Most of the victims in Washington, as in previous outbreaks in other states, are between 8 and 12…

The pertussis vaccine is commonly given in childhood, and many states require it for children of school age. But Washington State, according to a federal study last year of kindergarten-age children, had the highest percentage of parents in the nation who voluntarily exempted their children from one or more vaccines, out of fear of side effects or for philosophical reasons…

Or sheer stupidity, ignorance compounded by religious blather.

Ms. Selecky said immunizations were meant to protect not only individuals but also the broader population: the so-called herd immunity threshold. If a large enough segment of the population is unprotected from a disease — generally considered 5 percent to 15 percent, depending on the disease — even people with some degree of immunity through vaccination can have an elevated risk, she said.

I’ve told this tale before – to people too ignorant to know what life in this land was like before widespread availability of vaccines. Every year, at the end of winter, you could look around the urban neighborhood where I grew up and ask – “Who died this winter?”

There would be other school-age kids who died of scarlet fever, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, German measles – all the ailments these vaccines fight against. Then, we could look forward to summer vacation – and polio.

India marks one year anniversary since last polio case

Health officials are hailing a polio breakthrough in India, once recognised as the global epicentre of the crippling disease, as the country marked one year since the last recorded case.

India, once home to half of all global cases of polio, on Friday completed one year since an 18-month-old girl in West Bengal was diagnosed with the disease.


AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout

The breakthrough could see India removed from a list of nations where polio is still endemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the next month.

With Niger and Egypt taken off that list in recent years, India’s removal would see the list of nations with indigenous polio reduced to just three: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan…

In a statement, Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s health minister, said: “We are excited and hopeful, at the same time, vigilant and alert”…

Part of…new tactics and innovations was an effort to reach poor children in railways and on the streets. “Remotes areas were huge havens of disease, but we persisted,” Sona Bari, a spokesperson for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, told Al Jazeera. “Wherever there were no facilities, we just had people camping on the floor.”

According to WHO estimates, the Indian government dedicated two billion dollars to polio eradication over the last decade and a half. “It was almost completely self-funded,” Bari said. “India has shown that it can be done, despite extremely difficult circumstances…”

The advance in a nation where polio had been thought endemic, has raised hopes that polio will join smallpox as the second disease to have been successfully eradicated globally.

RTFA. India will be deemed to have eradicated the disease if it stays polio-free for another two years.

I grew up in the era of diseases afflicting children especially – which have since been stopped by vaccination programs. Back in the day, the religious among us hailed the advances of science as a gift from their God. Nowadays, for whatever reason, it seems the spookiest individuals are the ones blathering about vaccination being a conspiracy of science.

I wish they had my life’s experience, greeting each New Year with questions to my classmates about “who died in your neighborhood, this year” – from polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, scarlet fever. Every neighborhood had one or two “survivors” of polio who made do with crutches to get to school.

Now – religion is an acceptable excuse to keep from having your kids vaccinated. What fools these parents be.

Taliban opposes polio vaccinations – WTF?


Daylife/Getty Images

Miliants in northern Pakistan have triggered a medical emergency by refusing to allow health officials to conduct a polio vaccination campaign. Taliban militants in the former tourist destination of Swat Valley have obstructed officials from vaccinating over 300,000 children.

Militants have seized control of most of Swat and its capital, Mingora, and have extended their rule since striking a peace deal with the government and army earlier this year.

Extremist clerics have used mosque loudspeakers and illegal radio stations to spread the idea that the vaccinations cause infertility and are part of a US-sponsored anti-Muslim plot.

Dr Abid said that militants have not allowed polio vaccinations to take place at a critical time.

“Polio vaccination is effective in first three months of the year when virus transmission is lowest and so there is no interference with the vaccine virus,” said Dr Abid.

These idiots are the world’s best example what results from theocracy. Putting the ignorant in charge of political decisions about health, safety and education has never worked. Some people discovered this centuries ago. Some still wear the blinders of foolishness and superstition.