Posted by Dennis Dinsmore
Rotary leaders frequently say in their speeches that "Polio is only a plane ride away". We recently got proof that this omen could become a reality when in July, 2022 the US Center For Disease Control announced the confirmation of a polio case in the United States.
An unvaccinated young adult in Rockland County, New York was verified with having polio, probably contracted from a family member or friend visiting from another country who may have had no symptoms and was totally unaware of possible infection.
Please see the ProPublica Story linked at the left for an excellent explanation of the situation.
To understand this event, we must first understand some basics about polio vaccination. There are two ways to immunize a person against polio, the Salk vaccine and the Sabin vaccine. The Salk vaccine is injected and contains killed polio virus. It is by far the most prevalent method of immunizing children across the industrialized world. The Sabin vaccine is administered orally with drops and contains a live virus. While the Sabin drops are far more easy to administer and thus became the worldwide standard for our immunization efforts, they also can trigger an unfortunate outcome.
When the Sabin drops are administered they go into the gut of the patient and begin to trigger an immunity process which lasts two to four weeks. In the meantime the patient becomes, in effect, a polio factory who's bodily eliminations contain live polio virus which can get into the environment, including into municipal sanitary systems.  Unvaccinated people coming in casual contact can then be exposed to infection, often without even knowing it.
These polio cases are referred to in the reports as cVDPV, "contracted Virus-Derived Polio Virus". By far, the most susceptible areas of the world where these secondary infections can occur are places where immunizations are spotty.  See Rotary's Status Report and the Worldwide cDVPV Report numbers on the right.
Details of this case are still unfolding but one thing is absolutely clear, this outcome could have been completely avoided had both the patient victim and the carrier been vaccinated.