OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – A life-threatening virus, once thought no longer spreading in the U.S., is back. A person in New York tested positive for polio.

“This particular patient who got polio was unvaccinated against polio,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health Chief Quality Officer, OU Chief COVID Officer. “A patient came into a hospital in New York with lower extremity weakness, partial paralysis, and they diagnosed the patient with polio.”

There are signs of spread in New York wastewater.

Polio is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms in most people, but in a small percentage will cause either meningitis, paralysis, even death.

Back in the 1940s, some 35,000 Americans per year were paralyzed because of polio. Even former President Franklin Roosevelt was left paralyzed by the virus.

Cases started dropping in the 50s with the development of a vaccine, but there is still no cure.

“It is a standard vaccine that we give all children, and it’s usually a syringe through their life for injections of an inactivated polio vaccine,” said Dr. Bratzler.

Bratzler stated the delay and decrease in childhood vaccinations could spread diseases like Polio, and it’s very concerning.

“The more people in a community that you have that are potentially infected and the more people you have that are not vaccinated, the disease could spread, and we could see other people come down with symptoms of either meningitis or paralysis,” said Dr. Bratzler.

There are two ways polio can spread – respiratory or by contact. Dr. Bratzler warns Oklahomans to take preventive measures before polio becomes a threat.

“I want to clarify that there is not a national outbreak,” said Dr. Bratzler. “People haven’t thought about Polio in a long time, and we just hadn’t seen it. We knew it wasn’t gone from the world. It’s still being seen around the world. But make sure your kids are up to date on the vaccines.”