Children receiving the Wellcome polio vaccine by placing a drop on a sugar cube, circa 1980. (Photo courtesy of Wellcome Library, London | International CC-BY 4.0)
First it was COVID-19. Then monkeypox. And now, for the first time since 2013, polio has reappeared in the United States.
While health officials are mixed about whether this could trigger a third simultaneous outbreak, some regions have started checking vaccines and protocols.
Montana requires all students in public education to be immunized against a host of diseases, unless there is a medical or religious exemption. These diseases range from measles, mumps and whooping cough to poliomyelitis, an ancient disease that can lead to paralysis or death.
A look at statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Montana is about average for its polio-protected population, with nearly 93% of children entering kindergarten immunized. This is just 1% less than the national average of 93.9%.
Most public health officials believe herd immunity to polio hovers around 80%. Herd immunity is a medical concept that a high enough concentration of vaccines or antibodies against a communicable disease will disrupt the spread of the disease, greatly reducing the risk that even those who are not vaccinated can get sick.
Poliomyelitis is transmitted by contact with water droplets containing the disease or by contact with feces. And the recent case in Rockland County, New York, was traced to an unvaccinated person who came into contact with someone who received a polio vaccine.
Montana’s overall immunization rate for children entering kindergarten is slightly below national averages in all categories:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough: Montana 91.9% | Country 93.6%
- Mumps Rubella Measles: Montana 92.9% | Country 93.9%
- Chickenpox (Chickenpox): Montana 91.1% | Country 93.6%
Montana’s slightly below average polio vaccination rate appeared first on Daily Montanan.