Polio was detected in NYC wastewater, indicating virus circulation

NEW YORK – Polio virus has been found in New York City sewage in another sign of the disease, never before seen in America for a decadeis quietly spreading among the unvaccinated, health officials said Friday.

The presence of the polio virus in the city’s wastewater indicates the potential for local circulation of the virus, the city and New York state health departments said.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said the detection of polio virus in sewage samples in New York City was alarming but not surprising.

“The risk to New Yorkers is real, but prevention is simple – get vaccinated against polio,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a statement. “With polio circulating in our community, nothing is more essential than immunizing our children to protect them from this virus, and if you are an unvaccinated adult or incomplete vaccination, please choose now to immunize. Polio is completely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”

Read more: The arrival of polio in the United States is another urgent reminder that children need to be vaccinated

New York City is being forced to confront polio as city health officials struggle to vaccinate vulnerable populations against monkey smallpox and adjust to change COVID-19 Principles.

“We’re dealing with a trio,” Mayor Eric Adams said Friday on CNN. “COVID is still very much here. Polio, we’ve identified polio in our wastewater, and we’re still dealing with the monkeypox crisis. But the team is there. And we are coordinating and we are addressing threats as they come before us, and we are prepared to deal with them with the support of Washington, DC.”

The announcement of the discovery of the polio virus in New York City came shortly after British health authorities announced they had found evidence the virus had spread in London but no human cases had been found. Children aged 1-9 in London are eligible for booster dose of a polio vaccine on Wednesday.

In New York, a person was paralyzed a few weeks ago with a polio infection in Rockland County, north of the city. Wastewater samples collected in June in both Rockland and neighboring Orange County were found to contain the virus.

Most people infected with polio have no symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others for days or weeks. Vaccination offers strong protection, and authorities recommend that unvaccinated people get vaccinated immediately.

Read more: Parents are facing tough school choices in the COVID-19 era. This is how people make the same decisions when they have polio

Based on past outbreaks, it is possible that hundreds of people in the state have contracted polio and are unaware of it, officials said.

Polio was once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, with outbreaks every year leaving thousands of cases of polio. The disease mainly affects children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine became available in 1955, and a national vaccination campaign cut the annual number of cases in the US to less than 100 in the 1960s and less than 100. more than 10 cases in the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A small percentage of people with paralysis are paralyzed. The disease is fatal for 5-10% of people who are paralyzed.

All students in New York are required to be vaccinated against polio, but Rockland and Orange counties are known to be centers of vaccine resistance.

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