Poliomyélite paralysante : ce que l’on sait des cas d’infections au virus à New York

Poliomyélite paralysante : ce que l'on sait des cas d'infections au virus à New York

After detecting a first case of paralytic poliomyelitis in Rockland County on July 21, the state of New York has added 7 positive cases of the hyper-contagious disease in recent days, despite an alert issued on Thursday, August 4 by the state health department.

Rapid contamination and very serious effects on the health of patients. Virtually eradicated in developed countries for a few decades thanks to advances in vaccination, polio has come back to the fore in the UK, but also in the US, in recent weeks.

On Thursday, July 21, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (Cidrap) confirmed the first case of paralytic polio in Rockland County, New York. Not having been vaccinated against this disease, the young man was affected by paralysis in one of his legs. As the latter has not traveled in recent months, the hypothesis of contamination abroad has been ruled out by the investigators.

Seven positive samples in Rockland County

On Thursday, August 4, the New York State Department of Health alerted the public to the presence of poliovirus in sewage at various locations around the city, warning of a possible outbreak and highlighting the importance of vaccination.

“Sequence analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that seven positive samples from both Rockland County (three) and Orange County (four) are genetically linked to the individual case of paralytic polio. previously identified in a Rockland County resident. . These findings provide further evidence of local, not international, transmission of a polio virus that can cause paralysis and possible community spread,” the health department said.

Hundreds of cases expected

Given the high contagiousness of the disease, the New York State Health Commissioner predicted many infections in the region. “Based on past polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every paralytic polio case seen, there may be hundreds more infected,” he said.

As a reminder, one hundred cases have been identified worldwide since 2015, while before the start of the global vaccination campaign, the disease affected more than 600,000 children a year.


Paralytic poliomyelitis is described by the Pasteur Institute as a “highly contagious disease caused by a virus (poliovirus) that invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within a few hours.” The virus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, most often through contaminated water.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease, which mainly affects children under 5 years of age, causes irreversible paralysis in one in 200 cases.

The first symptoms that develop in case of contamination are fatigue, headaches and fever. The next phase may be characterized by vomiting and neck stiffness, see paralysis of one or more limbs.

Vaccination promoted by Bill Gates

A fight for vaccination that had the support of billionaire Bill Gates to eradicate polio from the planet once and for all. “The global eradication strategy must be fully supported to protect people everywhere,” the Microsoft founder said on Twitter, in response to these new cases.

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