Analysis & Opinions - CNN

How a virus seemingly returned from the dead

| Aug. 15, 2022

This follows the virus being found in sewage in two neighboring New York City counties -- Rockland and Orange County from samples collected in May, June and July. While no other cases of polio have been reported in the US so far, a senior official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that this is "just the very, very tip of the iceberg," suggesting that there "must be several hundred cases in the community circulating."

    This is a serious situation. Poliovirus -- a disease eliminated in the US in 1979 is now being detected in three locations in the US. "Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us," said the New York CityHealth Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. 

      Polio is a vaccine preventable disease and these latest developments should be a warning to us all. Unfortunately, places like Rockland County have an incredibly low polio vaccination rate; 60.5% of two-year-olds are vaccinated compared with the statewide average of 79.1%.

      The vaccine to fight the disease has indeed been one of the most celebrated shots in history. Church bells rang out across America and people flooded into the streets to celebrate with parents hugging their children in relief when the vaccine field trial results were announced in 1955 (this is akin to present-day pharmaceutical companies releasing news releases on their vaccine efficacy data).

      For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
      For Academic Citation: Madad, Syra.“How a virus seemingly returned from the dead.” CNN, August 15, 2022.