Fatal Polio Reported 12 Years After Exposure to Vaccine

By Nancy Walsh, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Published: June 15, 2011

Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Nurse Planner

In an unusual case of vaccine-derived polio, an immunodeficient woman receiving regular intravenous immune globulin treatment became paralyzed and died 12 years after her child received the oral polio vaccine, investigators reported.

“This patient had the first nonimported case of paralytic poliomyelitis and the second case of [vaccine-derived poliovirus] infection reported in the United States since the discontinuation in 2000 of oral poliovirus vaccinations,” wrote Aaron S. DeVries, MD, of the Minnesota Department of Health in St. Paul, and colleagues.

The case offers a caution for patients with primary B-cell deficiency, who may remain at risk for viral shedding and paralytic disease if they were exposed to someone who had received the oral vaccine before 2000, the investigators warned in the June 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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