Indonesia’s parliament votes to ban sex outside of marriage     Ukraine live briefing: Attacks on Russian airfields carried out by Ukrainian drones, Kyiv official says      The gold-mining city that’s destroying a sacred Venezuelan mountain     Indonesia’s parliament votes to ban sex outside of marriage     Ukraine live briefing: Attacks on Russian airfields carried out by Ukrainian drones, Kyiv official says      The gold-mining city that’s destroying a sacred Venezuelan mountain     Strep A: What to know about the usually mild infection leading to children’s deaths     Ukrainian drones hit two air bases deep inside Russia in brazen attack     Russian mercenaries accused of using violence to corner diamond trade      Indonesia’s parliament votes to ban sex outside of marriage     Ukraine live briefing: Attacks on Russian airfields carried out by Ukrainian drones, Kyiv official says      The gold-mining city that’s destroying a sacred Venezuelan mountain     Indonesia’s parliament votes to ban sex outside of marriage     Ukraine live briefing: Attacks on Russian airfields carried out by Ukrainian drones, Kyiv official says      The gold-mining city that’s destroying a sacred Venezuelan mountain     Strep A: What to know about the usually mild infection leading to children’s deaths     Ukrainian drones hit two air bases deep inside Russia in brazen attack     Russian mercenaries accused of using violence to corner diamond trade      

News of Otsego County

Search Results for: POLIO

Polio Rearing Its Ugly Head

Polio Rearing Its Ugly Head

By Richard Sternberg

First COVID-19. Then monkeypox. Now polio. Next, West Nile Virus. And always in the background in Central New York, Lyme disease. The pan-, epi-, and endemics of deadly and disabling diseases doesn’t seem to stop. This week I will try to tackle polio.

An iron lung sponsored by the March of Dimes helps a young boy with polio breath during the 1950s. (Photo by Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis via Getty Images)

There are very few people who will read this that remember how much polio terrorized people, especially mothers, in the first half of the 20th century. People become sick, develop muscle paralysis, develop severe weakness, and occasionally have respiratory muscle involvement, which could lead to the use of mechanical ventilation including, by what was called, an iron lung, and ultimately lead to death.

I myself remember my mother’s concerns and fears that I did not understand at the time. I had the misfortune of having to see an iron lung in use when I was a medical student, though for a different disease. It’s horrible to think of a person having to try and live their life in such a device. Truthfully that wasn’t much of a life at all.

JEROME: What The ‘Plus’ In PolioPlus?

What’s The ‘Plus’

Of PolioPlus?

By MICHAEL JEROME • Cooperstown Rotary PolioPlus Chric

Thirty years ago, Rotary International made a promise to the children of the world – we will eradicate polio worldwide. This pledge launched the PolioPlus program, the first global initiative to provide mass vaccinations to children. Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have made great strides in their sustained effort to end polio forever despite many challenges over the years. Rotary remains optimistic and committed to the final push towards a polio-free world.

Michael Jerome

Since then, polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent, from 350,000 cases in 1988 in 125 countries to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2019, health officials celebrated the three-year mark of the last reported a case of wild poliovirus in Nigeria – a major milestone that makes it possible for the entire African continent to be certified wild poliovirus-free – a remarkable achievement!

The benefits of the PolioPlus program go well beyond the eventual end of polio. Early in Rotary’s efforts to vaccinate every child against polio, community and tribal leaders in some areas said their villages had matters more critical than polio that needed to be addressed first. Issues like clean water, proper sanitation, and education to name a few. Rotary responded by providing grants to dig wells, install toilets, build schools and vocational training facilities among other efforts to address these needs. As projects were completed over the years, the leaders realized Rotary cared; and they allowed health workers to come in and provide the vaccines. In many parts of the world, access to clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and a basic education are available thanks to Rotary International.

Other pluses of the PolioPlus program include the utilization lessons learned, systems designed, and infrastructure established for polio eradication in other situations. An example can be seen in northeastern Nigeria, where malaria kills more people than all other diseases combined. In 2017, the World Health Organization, one of Rotary’s GPEI partners, used the polio eradication staff and infrastructure to deliver antimalarial medicines along with the polio vaccine to children there. It’s reported that this campaign reached 1.2 million children.

Additionally, in 2014 health workers in Nigeria successfully used the surveillance systems and processes developed for polio eradication to locate infected people and prevent Ebola from spreading beyond the initial 19 reported cases. Here and elsewhere, health workers use surveillance systems and processes developed for polio immunizations to combat other health crisis.

As a result of the PolioPlus program, now healthcare workers who provide basic care to families, routinely give children preventative care such as Tdap and Vitamin A before giving polio vaccines. According to a recent study, 1.25 million deaths were prevented by providing Vitamin A to children at the same time as the polio vaccine.

The lessons learned from the PolioPlus campaign, the research facilities built for disease analysis, and the surveillance systems designed to locate infected persons are successfully being used to prevent other diseases from spreading. Rotary has a right to be proud of all that we and our GPEI partners have accomplished because of the PolioPlus program.

Rotary’s 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries have been actively raising funds for this cause for decades including more than $60,000 contributed by the Rotary Club of Cooperstown. To complete the final immunizations and defeat polio, Rotary is committed to raising $50 million annually over the next three years. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1.

Without full funding, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. According to specialists the final one percent is the most difficult for this very contagious disease. If we do not stop it now, new cases may re-emerge in countries where the disease was once eliminated, and many more children may be at risk.

The Rotary Club of Cooperstown will mark the historic progress toward a polio-free world with activities in recognition of World Polio Day. The Mayor of the Village of Cooperstown, Ellen R. Tillapaugh, has issued a proclamation proclaiming October 24, 2019 as World Polio Day in Cooperstown and encourages all residents to join her and Rotary International in the fight for a polio-free world.

Several events have been planned, including the following:

Cooperstown Dines Out to End Polio – A week-long event during which local restaurants will contribute a percentage of their net sales to support Rotary International’s Global Eradication Initiative.

Purple Pinkie Project – Students from the Cooperstown Central School chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) will celebrate World Polio Day with presentations in the elementary school to raise student awareness of polio and the need to eradicate this paralyzing disease. NHS members and Rotary Youth Exchange students will paint their classmate’s fingernails purple in exchange of a donation towards polio eradication. In countries where polio still exists, a finger stained purple indicates a child has received a polio vaccination. A flyer about this project will be sent home with the elementary school students soon.

End Polio Now Table at the Farmer’s Market – Rotarians will offer to paint fingernails, provide information on the polio eradication initiative and accept donations to the Eradication Initiative on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Please stop by our table.

Rotary members, students and area residents will join millions who are working to raise awareness and funds to end the debilitating disease of polio, a vaccine-preventable health risk that continues to threaten children in parts of the world today. I urge you to reflect on your good fortune to live in a polio-free county and contribution to support the global effort to End Polio Now.

To make a direct contribution, readers are welcome to contact me at

STERNBERG: World Polio Day Celebrated Next Week
Column by Richard Sternberg M.D.

World Polio Day
Celebrated Next Week

October 24 is World Polio Day, an international commemoration of the efforts to eliminate poliomyelitis in the entire world, recognize those fighting the disease, and bring awareness to the public of the danger of the disease and how they can help to end it. The eradication of polio is, or maybe better to say was, in the last mile of a marathon, but complacency and a decreased emphasis on eradicating it has put at risk the end goal of a polio-free world.

We discussed the current outbreak of polio on August 25 and September 15 of this year in my column and in a piece by Michael Jerome on October 19, 2019. These articles can be found on by searching for “polio.”

A Local Polio Pioneer

Ellen Feury Levine, Polio Pioneer

A Local Polio Pioneer

In 1954, Ellen Feury Levine, of Cooperstown, became a pioneer. Ellen and the rest of her second grade class at Cooperstown Central School received shots in the first national tests of a trial polio vaccine.

Levine had joined the decades-long, national effort to defeat a virus that ravaged thousands and worried millions of Americans for decades.

Health Department Highlights Importance of Polio Vaccination

Health Department Highlights
Importance of Polio Vaccination

With Polio spreading from a case of a non-vaccinated individual in Rockland County, NY, the Otsego County Department of Health are highlighting the importance of vaccinating local children against this potentially debilitating disease.

‘Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spread from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis’ said the department in a press release.

With the school year beginning in less than a month and only 80.43% of the county’s 2-year-old children vaccinated against Polio (compared to 89.43% in Delaware County and 88.84% in Schoharie County) the health department is urging those who are not vaccinated or who have children who are not vaccinated to reach out to a healthcare provider immediately.

Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

Polio, Part II

Three weeks ago, this column covered the topic of polio, its cause, symptoms, complications, treatment, and prevention. Polio continues to be in the news, especially in New York, because there are indications that it is spreading geographically. Polio virus has been found in wastewater in Nassau County, Long Island.

Last Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency because of the increasing number of positive tests and the apparent spread outward from the initial location. The order is to better enable health care providers to fight the disease and prevent further outbreaks of paralysis.

Among other things it will require providers to send vaccination data to the state Department of Health to better track the total numbers around the state in order to direct the greatest efforts in those areas. The order also allows expanded authorization of who can administer the vaccine. During the emergency, midwives, pharmacists, and other licensed paraprofessionals can vaccinate.

Cooperstown Central School Joins Fight To Eradicate Polio

Cooperstown Central School 

Joins Fight To Eradicate Polio

David Peplinski's 6th grade class announced their public service project today; raising funds to help eradicate Polio. Tables will be set up in the entrance to the school where people can donate between 8-8:15am on school days, and 11am-12:30pm in the Cafeteria during lunch. The campaign will run from January 12-16 followed by a sister campaign in the high school the following week. Money raised through both schools will be pooled and turned over to the Cooperstown Rotary. Any donations collected will be tripled by the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. (Ian Austin/
With Purple pinkies and tee shirts, members of David Peplinski’s 6th grade class announced their public service project today; raising funds to help eradicate Polio. The class gave a presentation to the student body at CCS this afternoon with information on polio and the movement.
Collection tables will be set up at CCS between 8-8:15am  and 11am-12:30pm on schooldays. The campaign will run from January 12-16 followed by a sister campaign in the high school the following week. Money raised  will be pooled and turned over to the Cooperstown Rotary. Any donations received will be  matched 2-to-1 by the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. Each vaccination costs $1. (Ian Austin/

‘Dine Out For Polio’ Begins This Evening In Cooperstown

‘Dine Out For Polio’ Begins

This Evening In Cooperstown

COOPERSTOWN – The Cooperstown Rotary Club’s “Dine Out For Polio” week begins this evening, with Nicoletta’s contributing a portion of its net to Rotary International’s Global Eradication Effort.

Other local participating restaurants are:  Monday, Bocca Osteria;  Tuesday, the Cafe at Brewery Ommegant; Wednesday, Stagecoach Coffee and Well-Spent Wednesday at Alex’s Bistro; Thursday, Mel’s at 22; Friday, The Otesaga’s Hawkeye Grill, and Saturday, Council Rock Brewery.

STERNBERG: West Nile Virus
Column by Dr. Richard Sternberg

West Nile Virus

To add to all the other viruses that we have had to think about, COVID, monkeypox, polio, we can add West Nile Virus (WNV) which is now endemic in the New York City area.

This is not yet affecting us in Otsego County and surrounding areas and probably won’t. While it is transmitted to humans by mosquitos, the reservoir, the source and reproduction site for the virus is various bird species. There is no treatment but the most obvious prevention is to kill the mosquitos that infect people.

In the city, NYC health officials found the virus in mosquitos in over 1,100 pools of water. They have initiated widespread spraying to kill them. Additionally, epidemics of WNV die off where the weather is too cold for the mosquitos.

Opinion by Richard Sternberg: COVID: Good News/Bad News

Opinion by Richard Sternberg
COVID: Good News/Bad News

Six weeks ago, I wrote about a new drug called malnupiravir from Merck that was a game changer in the treatment of COVID-19. When taken in the first few days of infection it was 50% effective in the prevention of hospitalization and death. While not as good as monoclonal antibodies this was considered an amazing result and the study was terminated early in order to immediately ask for emergency approval. It was recently approved in Great Britain and large supplies were purchased by Britain, the United States, and other wealthy countries.

Weekly Medical Briefs: 09-15-22

Weekly Medical Briefs

September 15, 2022

NY State of Emergency on Polio Outbreak
New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday over the growing polio outbreak, in an effort to better equip health care providers with tools to curb the spread of the sometimes disabling virus before it takes further hold in the state.

New York Times – 9/9/22 Sept. 9

Skin Test to Detect Alzheimer’s
A report given at the Alzheimer’s Association Inter-national Conference suggests that a minimally invasive skin test can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease with accuracy. The test measures factors related to nerve connections in the brain. The chief medical advisor for SYNAPS the company that developed the test stated that when added to other diagnostic methods “tremendously enhance the certainty of making a diagnosis,” of Alzheimer’s Disease.

At Woodside Hall, Not One COVID Case In Year

At Woodside Hall, Not One COVID Case In Year

The Rules Are Clear, Says Proprietor,
But They Must Be Enforced Every Day

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Woodside Hall proprietor Stephen Cadwalader, left, and Administrator Joel Plue discuss anti-COVID strategies in the bright drawing room. (Jim Kevlin/

‘When I was a child, a classmate was one of the last Americans to have polio,” said Woodside Hall proprietor Stephen Cadwalader. “What if COVID-19 is like polio? That’s what went through my mind.”

So here we are, a year since the coronavirus arrived – Governor Cuomo reported Tuesday was the anniversary of the first in-state COVID case – and not a single case has appeared at Woodside Hall, a nursing home in the imposing mansion at 1 Main St.

“I’m proud to say, we’re the only facility in the county not to test positive for COVID,” said Joel Plue, the home’s administrator since last September.

Asked to confirm that, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond concurred: The only one.

“We look at residents as an extension of our family,” said Plue, sitting in the bright drawing room across from the grand piano.

The home’s secret? It’s not so much a secret, it turns out, as rigorously applying generally accepted standards.

First, Plue continued, “we take care of our staff. If they arrive with even a sniffle, they’re sent home. They come back to work as soon as they test negative.”

Robert Charles Sharp, Jr. February 27, 1946 – June 30, 2021

In Memoriam

Robert Charles Sharp, Jr., 75

February 27, 1946 – June 30, 2021

Robert C. Sharp

ONEONTA – Robert Charles Sharp, Jr., 75, passed away at home and at peace on June 30, 2021.

He was born February 27, 1946 in Oneonta, the son of Robert Charles Sharp, Sr. and Mary Bridget O’Brien.

Bob married Antoinette Ester Bourne “Toni” at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Oneonta in September of 1964.

He was a contractor, stone masonry, partial proprietor of The Royal Grill, The Limit, Bojangles, and Groucho’s Taverns.  Bob was a member of the BPOE of Oneonta (Elks Club), Avid Hunters Club of Oneonta, Ducks Unlimited Organization, Polio Pioneer for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, first national test of a trial Polio vaccine conducted in 1954.

Harold Ray, 75; Honored For Overcoming Life’s Obstacles


Harold Ray, 75; Honored For

Overcoming Life’s Obstacles

Harold Ray

ONEONTA – Harold Ray, formerly of Oneonta, the inaugural recipient of The Arc Otsego’s Reach for the Stars Award in 2016, formerly of Oneonta, passed away on Jan. 26, 2019, at his nephew’s home in Oxford.

The award honored Harold – known to many as a dapper gentleman, always dressed in his suit and tie – for overcoming obstacles in his life and continuing to strive to help others.

Weekly Medical News: 09-01-22

Weekly Medical News

September 1, 2022

Editors note: The following is a compendium of medical news items and releases we found interesting over the last 10 days. Please let us know your thoughts on this feature at

General Information

The CDC announced that it will make major changes to how it operates following what it admits was a failed response to COVID-19, monkeypox, and polio. Director Rochelle Walensky stated “my goal is a new public health oriented culture that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communications, and timeliness.”

According to the National Center of Health Statistics, average life expectancy fell 1.8 years in the U.S. in 2020, the first year of the COVID pandemic, and because of “unintentional injuries” such as failure to seek timely care for other illnesses and increased drug overdoses.

Vaccines are recommended. The ideal time to receive the vaccine is September or October, right before the flu season begins. The CDC says the vaccine can be given the same time as the COVID vaccine, though there is no mention of whether it can be given with other vaccines. Note: some physicians feel that while reportedly safe, there should be some spacing between vaccines if for no other reason than to know that if there is a reaction which vaccine is causing it. In parts of the world where it is difficult to get to a vaccination site, giving them together makes sense.

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