Three additional cases of polio virus infection have now been identified in central
Three children all members of the same family have now been found to be infected with the virus. MDH disease investigators say there are direct links between the family of the three children and the family of an infant found to be infected with the virus at the end of September. The two families are not related by blood.
Like the infant, the three children do not have any symptoms of paralytic polio and like the infant, they had not been vaccinated against the illness.
MDH officials are not providing any additional information about the cases because the information could be used to identify the children involved, in violation of the state data practices law.
Both of the affected families are members of the Amish community in central
The three new cases were identified through efforts by local, state and federal public health officials to follow up with people who may have been exposed to the virus either through direct contact with the infant, or through contact with individuals who had contact with the infant and became infected.
These cases do not represent a generalized outbreak of polio virus infection, said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach. You are not at risk of infection unless you have had close contact with an infected person, and you have not been immunized against polio. The general public is not at risk.
An estimated 93 percent of
MDH has been focusing its disease investigation on the Amish community, and on health care workers who may have provided care to the infected infant, according to Dr. Harry Hull, Minnesota state epidemiologist.
We will continue to follow up directly with people who may have been exposed to the virus,
Because members of the central Minnesota Amish community have links with Amish groups in other parts of the country, its possible that cases of infection may eventually be identified outside
MDH officials say the virus strain found in the four central
Use of the live-virus oral vaccine was discontinued in the U.S. in 2000. All polio vaccinations in the U.S. are now done with an injected, killed-virus vaccine.
Before use of the live-virus vaccine was discontinued, it caused about eight cases of paralytic polio a year in the U.S., on average. The last case of naturally occurring polio in the U.S. was reported in 1979. Naturally-occurring polio is considered to be eradicated in the western hemisphere.
Paralytic disease is relatively uncommon in people who are infected with the polio virus, occurring in only about one of every 200 people infected.
For the original polio news report, go to: http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/hotnews/5ah78595867041.html