Biden Oversees Return of Polio to America

Last known case under Democratic president Barack Obama in 2013

Fawad Rahmani, 11, who has had polio since he was two years old, makes his way home using his crutches and special braces fitted from the ICRC Orthopedic clinic on September 26, 2009, in Kabul, Afghanistan. / Getty Images
July 21, 2022

Under the Biden administration, New York health officials reported the first U.S. polio case in nearly a decade.

The patient, who has not traveled outside the country recently, developed symptoms a month ago and is now experiencing paralysis, officials said. The person is not deemed contagious, but investigators are unsure how many people were exposed to the virus or how it was contracted.

President Joe Biden has overseen a variety of public health crises. More Americans have died from COVID-19 under Biden than former president Donald Trump. And more than 2,300 Americans have tested positive for monkeypox this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Republicans have criticized Biden’s monkeypox response for being "once again significantly behind the curve."

A polio case last originated in the United States in 1979 under former Democratic president Jimmy Carter. Travelers brought the virus into the country most recently in 2013 under the Obama administration, according to the CDC.

People who are vaccinated against the polio virus have a low risk of contracting it, so officials are encouraging all Americans to get vaccinated.