Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Confirmed Case of Poliomyelitis in Unvaccinated Adult: In June 2022, an unvaccinated adult in New York developed paralytic poliomyelitis, marking a rare occurrence in the U.S., where sustained transmission has been absent for around 40 years.
  2. Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Type 2 Identified: The virus isolated from the patient and detected in wastewater samples was identified as vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2), indicating ongoing risk to unvaccinated individuals.
  3. Public Health Response and Surveillance: Following the detection, an extensive public health response was initiated, including increased healthcare provider awareness, enhanced surveillance, and vaccination efforts in affected New York counties.
  4. Low Vaccination Coverage Concerns: Declining vaccination coverage in Rockland County highlighted the importance of maintaining high immunization rates to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like polio.
  5. Global Implications and Vaccine Effectiveness: The case underscores the global risk of poliovirus transmission and the critical role of vaccination, particularly with Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), in preventing paralytic disease.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Ruth Link-Gelles,

Suggested Citation

Link-Gelles R, Lutterloh E, Schnabel Ruppert P, et al. Public Health Response to a Case of Paralytic Poliomyelitis in an Unvaccinated Person and Detection of Poliovirus in Wastewater — New York, June–August 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1065-1068. DOI:


This MMWR article details the public health response to a case of paralytic poliomyelitis in an unvaccinated adult in New York in June 2022 and the subsequent detection of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) in wastewater. This case represents only the second instance of community transmission of poliovirus in the U.S. since 1979, emphasizing the importance of high vaccination coverage.


The response involved issuing health advisories, enhancing surveillance, testing wastewater samples, and assessing vaccination coverage. Public health efforts focused on identifying potential infections and increasing vaccination uptake in the community.


The occurrence of this case, alongside the detection of VDPV2 in wastewater, highlights the ongoing risk of poliovirus transmission, especially to unvaccinated individuals. It also underscores the critical need for maintaining high vaccination rates to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.


The identification of poliovirus in an unvaccinated individual and in wastewater samples calls for continued vigilance and efforts to increase vaccination coverage. It reaffirms the global challenge of eradicating poliovirus and the essential role of vaccination in preventing paralytic poliomyelitis.


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