Home Biomedical research The first case of polio in the United States in more than a decade – Speaking of research

The first case of polio in the United States in more than a decade – Speaking of research


July 23rd 2022

Not so long ago (1950), the lack of a polio vaccine led to debilitating developmental abnormalities in our population. Due to decades of research to develop the oral polio vaccine, children today know nothing of the fear that polio brought to the United States every summer until the 20th century. Swimming pools and cinemas were closed and children were kept inside their homes by frightened parents. Around the world, the disease has killed millions of people and left legions of others permanently disabled. In 1979, however, and thanks to Albert Sabin’s research on monkeys, a vaccine was developed and poliomyelitis was considered eradicated.

“On the contrary, my own experience of more than 60 years in biomedical research has amply demonstrated that without the use of animals and human beings, it would have been impossible to acquire the important knowledge necessary to prevent much suffering and premature deaths not only among humans but also among animals.

In my 1956 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 162, p. 1589), I stated that during the previous four years “about 9,000 monkeys, 150 chimpanzees, and 133 human volunteers were used so far in studies of various characteristics”. of different strains of poliovirus. These studies were needed to solve many problems before an oral polio vaccine could become a reality.

Albert B. Sabin, MD »

Now all that can change. We have seen a dramatic decrease in overall vaccination rates among children. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have reported the largest sustained decline in childhood vaccinations in about 30 years. Some of this is precipitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the rest, however, stems from scare propaganda in the media, social media and other media channels where unverified information is quickly disseminated.

It is therefore not surprising that a young adult in Rockland County, New York became the first US resident in nearly a decade to contract polio. Officials say the person was unvaccborn and was likely exposed to a person who received a vaccine containing live weakened virus.

According at the BBC:

“Americans are typically vaccinated with a three- or four-dose regimen that begins at two months of age. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 93% of toddlers have received at least three doses of the polio vaccine. But while the United States and other countries use vaccines made with an inactivated version of the virus, some countries give an oral vaccine that uses the virus in a weakened live form. This weakened virus can, in rare cases, mutate and risk a new epidemic. Like the Rockland County patient, the last reported case of polio in the United States – a seven-month-old child who moved to the state of Texas from India in 2013 – was a vaccine-derived strain.

We will repeat here what all readers of our blog know to be a fact, the only way to avoid contracting poliomyelitis is to get vaccinated. Without vaccines, our future is indeed dire.

Photo showing polio patients at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in California in 1953.