What We’re Reading: US Polio Case Origins Detected; HIV-Positive Heart Transplant Performed; NC Considering Medicaid Expansion

The first case of polio in the United States in nearly a decade demonstrated a potential link to vaccine-derived viruses in Jerusalem and London; the world’s first HIV-positive heart transplant has been performed in the Bronx; North Carolina is on the path to Medicaid expansion.

Polio Virus Linked to United Kingdom, Israel

An analysis of polio's genetic code revealed that the first case of polio in the United States in nearly a decade was linked to cases in Jerusalem and London. This analysis also revealed that the virus was likely circulating for an indeterminant amount of time over a wide geographic area, with the virus having a vaccine-derived origin. The polio case in the United States was in a man who was unvaccinated and had not traveled outside of the country when he was infected, which implies that someone else brought the virus to the country. Vaccine-derived polio comes from oral polio vaccines, which were discontinued in the United States in 2000.

World’s First HIV-Positive Heart Transplant Performed

Montefiore Health System,in the Bronx, became the first hospital in the world to perform a heart transplant from an HIV-positive donor to an HIV-positive recipient. The recipient, a woman in her 60s, had suffered heart failure and received a kidney transplant simultaneously. Patients living with HIV only gained the ability to donate their organs to other patients with HIV in 2013, when the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act was passed. The woman who received the transplant is currently being monitored by transplant physicians at Montefiore.

Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina Imminent

North Carolina Republicans are finally in favor of expanding the state's Medicaid program to cover additional low-income adults. The GOP-controlled House and Senate had passed bipartisan measures to put the state on the path to Medicaid expansion during the General Assembly session that ended on July 1. Although Republicans and Democrats couldn’t come to an agreement before adjourning, Senate Leader Phil Berger is confident in success on the legislation. However, there are critics who no longer want to wait and there continues to be concern about the uninsured working poor.