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Polio Resurfaces

The disease was supposed to be gone from the United States. How did it show up in a secluded community?

Winter 2006
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Susan Rutten, physician to an Amish community

Ingrid Young/The New York Times

POLIO HAS RESURFACED in central Minnesota, 27 years after the last case in the United States was seen. Officials are trying to piece together how an eight-month-old Amish girl and four other children acquired the virus this past fall. Dr. Susan Rutten (shown making a house call) thinks the Amish, who often choose not to get vaccinated, have acquired the infectious disease either from traveling outside the United States or from contact with a foreign visitor. “If polio is in this community,” says Rutten, “I guarantee it’s in other parts of the country.”

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