Polio cases found in Minnesota in unvaccinated Amish children

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 7, 2005

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Four unvaccinated children in central Minnesota tested positive for the polio virus, according to the Oct. 14 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and statements issued by the Minnesota Dept. of Health over the past month.

The children are all members of the Amish community in the central part of the state and were infected with a vaccine-derived form of the virus. None were sickened by it, but this is the first documented incident of transmission of this variant of the virus since the United States stopped using the oral polio vaccine in 2000. Public health officials who genetically sequenced the virus suspect that it was brought in by a person from a country that still uses this vaccine and has been circulating in the community for about two years.

About 93% of the state's children are fully vaccinated, although rates are low among the Amish. Public health officials are offering the inactivated version of the vaccine to health care workers who may have been exposed, as well as to the members of this community.

The last wild poliovirus outbreak in the United States occurred in 1979 in several religious communities, including the Amish, that shunned vaccination.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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