Polio detected in New York sewage, suggesting virus circulation

NEW YORK – The polio virus has been discovered in New York’s sewage, another sign that the disease, which hasn’t been seen in the United States for a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said on Friday.

The presence of poliovirus in the city’s sewage suggests likely local circulation of the virus, New York City and State Health Departments said.

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

“The risk to New Yorkers is real, but the defense is so simple – get the polio shot,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a statement. “With polio circulating in our communities, there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you are an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to have yourself Vaccinate Poliomyelitis is entirely 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 must get vaccinated

New York City is forced to deal with polio as city health officials struggle to vaccinate vulnerable populations against monkeypox and adapt to changing COVID-19 guidelines .

“We’re dealing with a trifecta,” Mayor Eric Adams told CNN on Friday. “COVID is still very present. Polio, we have identified polio in our sewage, and we are still facing the monkeypox crisis. But the team is there. And we coordinate and deal with threats as they come our way, and we’re ready to deal with them with help from Washington, DC.

The news of the polio virus finding in New York comes shortly after British health authorities reported finding evidence the virus had spread to London, but found no cases in the UK. man. Children aged 1 to 9 in London were made eligible for booster doses of a polio vaccine on Wednesday.

In New York, a person suffered paralysis a few weeks ago due to polio infection in Rockland County, north of the city. Sewage samples taken in June in Rockland and adjacent Orange County were found to contain the virus.

Most people infected with poliomyelitis have no symptoms, but can still transmit the virus to others for days or weeks. Vaccination offers strong protection and authorities have urged people who have not been vaccinated to seek one immediately.

Read more: Parents face tough choices about school in the age of COVID-19. Here’s how people made the same decisions about polio

Based on past outbreaks, it’s possible that hundreds of people in the state have contracted polio and don’t know it, officials said.

Polio was once one of the country’s most feared diseases, with annual outbreaks causing thousands of cases of paralysis. The disease mainly affects children.

Vaccines became available from 1955, and a nationwide vaccination campaign reduced the annual number of cases in the United States to less than 100 in the 1960s and less than 10 in the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control. and Prevention.

A small percentage of people with poliomyelitis suffer from paralysis. The disease is fatal for 5 to 10% of paralyzed people.

All school children in New York must be vaccinated against polio, but Rockland and Orange counties are both known as centers of vaccine resistance.

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