August 8, 2022

New York state health officials have found indications of additional cases of polio virus in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people have been infected with the potentially dangerous virus.

Just two weeks ago, the New York Department of Health reported the state of the nation The first case of polio Almost a decade ago, in Rockland County, just north of New York City. Officials said This case occurred in a previously healthy young adult who had not been vaccinated and who had paralysis in both of his legs. Since then, three positive samples of sewage from Rockland County and four samples from neighboring Orange County have been detected and linked genetically to the first case, the Department of Health said in a statement. press release Thursday, indicating that the polio virus is spreading within local communities. The most recent samples were taken from two sites in Orange County in June and July and one site in Rockland County in July.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett: “Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every crippling polio case, there may be hundreds more people infected.” “In combination with the latest wastewater findings, the department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of a much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the risk of polio is present in York today.”

The Department of Health confirmed it was still investigating the source of the virus, and said it was not yet clear if the infected person in Rockland County was linked to the other cases.

The state health department said polio was a “serious and life-threatening disease”. It is highly contagious and can be spread by people who have not yet developed symptoms. Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection, and can be mild or flu-like. Some people may get infected Get paralyzed or die.

Before Polio vaccine Introduced in the 1950s, thousands of Americans died in an outbreak of polio, and tens of thousands, many of them children, were paralyzed. After a successful vaccination campaign, polio was officially declared eradicated in the United States in 1979.

The Department of Health said unvaccinated New Yorkers are encouraged to get vaccinated immediately. Unvaccinated people who live, work, or spend time in Rockland County, Orange County, and the greater New York metropolitan area are most at risk.

Most school-aged children received the polio vaccine, which is a four-dose course, beginning between 6 weeks and 2 months of age and followed by one injection at 4 months, one at 6 to 12 months, and one between 4 and 6 months of age, according to the Ministry of Health In Rockland County, about 60% of children received three polio shots before their second birthday, as did about 59% in Orange County — both less than 79% statewide.

According to the most recent childhood vaccine data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 93% of 2-year-olds in the United States have received at least three doses of the polio vaccine.

Meanwhile, adults who have not been vaccinated will receive three doses of the vaccination, and those who are vaccinated but are at high risk can receive a lifelong booster dose, according to the Department of Health.

Health officials said the vaccine is 99% effective in children receiving the full four-dose regimen.

“It is concerning that polio, a disease that has been largely eradicated through vaccination, is now spreading in our community, especially given the low vaccination rates of this debilitating disease in certain areas of our county,” Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Gilman said. “I urge all unvaccinated Orange County residents to get vaccinated as soon as medically possible.”

And Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel-Robert issued a similar statement, calling on people who haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated “immediately.”

Polio has rarely appeared in the United States since it was declared eradicated more than 40 years ago. The last reported case was uploaded by a passenger in 2013According to the Associated Press.

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