December 7, 2022

  • New York health officials have warned there could be “hundreds” of people infected with polio.
  • It comes after the virus was discovered in wastewater in two counties near New York City.
  • Officials warn all unvaccinated adults and children not to be vaccinated against polio.

New York health officials said there could be “hundreds” of people infected with polio after the virus was discovered in wastewater.

Officials are warning anyone who has not been vaccinated against the virus to do so as soon as possible, according to the Ministry of Health Thursday statement.

“Based on previous polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every crippling polio case, there may be hundreds more infected,” said state health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.

The virus was first detected in sewage samples in June in Rockland County, near New York City, and has since been detected in neighboring Orange County, the statement said.

“In combination with the latest wastewater findings, the department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg for a much greater potential spread,” Bassett said. “As we learn more, what we do know is clear: The danger of polio is present in New York today.”

Seven positive samples were detected, all ‘genetically related’ to unprotected person in Rockland County who contracted paralytic polio in in the middle of july. In the statement, officials said that person was not the “source of transmission of the virus” and “an investigation into the origin of the virus is underway.”

“This unprecedented spread of polio in our community must be stopped from a devastating disease that was eradicated from the United States in 1979,” said Dr. Patricia Schnabel-Robert, Commissioner of Health for Rockland County. “Any children and adults who are not immunized should receive their first polio immunization immediately.”

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