(New York) Public health officials said Friday that the polio virus has been detected in New York wastewater, another sign that the disease, which has not been reported in the United States for a decade, is spreading quietly among unvaccinated people.
Posted at 11:45 am
The presence of polio virus in wastewater in the US capital indicates a possible local spread of this virus responsible for polio, city and state health departments have announced.
The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the discovery of polio virus in New York wastewater samples is worrisome, but not surprising.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said the danger to New Yorkers is real, but polio is entirely preventable – simply through vaccination.
The discovery of the polio virus in New York comes shortly after British health authorities announced that they had found evidence of the virus spreading to London, but they had not reported any human cases. Children aged one to nine in London are now eligible to receive a booster dose of the polio vaccine since Wednesday.
Paralysis in New York
In New York, a person was paralyzed a few weeks before contracting polio in Rockland County, just north of the city. The virus was found in sewage samples taken in June in Rockland and neighboring Orange County.
Most people infected with polio show no symptoms, but they can still transmit the virus for days or weeks. Vaccination provides strong protection and authorities have urged people who have not been vaccinated to do so immediately.
Officials said that based on past outbreaks, it’s possible hundreds of people in New York state have contracted polio without knowing it.
Polio was once one of the most terrifying diseases in the United States. Annual outbreaks have caused thousands of paralysis. The disease mainly affects children.
Vaccines became available beginning in 1955, and a national 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 (CDC). ).
A small percentage of people with polio actually experience paralysis. This disease is fatal for 5 to 10% of paralyzed people.
All students in New York must be vaccinated against polio, but Rockland and Orange counties are known to be hotbeds of vaccine resistance.