NEW YORK — The polio virus has been detected in sewage in New York City, indicating local circulation, health officials said Friday.
Health officials for New York State and the City of New York confirmed the presence of the virus in sewage and are urging unvaccinated people to get vaccinated against the disease, which can cause permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and, in some cases, death .
“For every identified case of paralytic polio, hundreds more may go undetected,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Basset. “The detection of poliovirus in sewage samples from New York City is alarming but not surprising. The state health department is already responding urgently, working with local and federal partners, continuing to investigate cases and aggressively assessing the spread.”
The results follow the identification of a case of paralytic polio in a Rockland County resident on July 21 and the detection of poliovirus in sewage samples collected in May, June and July from neighboring New York City counties of Rockland and Orange County.
This individual, who is the first with polio in the United States in nearly a decade, is believed to have been infected by someone who received the oral polio vaccine abroad. The oral vaccine is no longer available in the United States.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real, but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “As polio circulates in our communities, there is simply nothing more important than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you are an unvaccinated or under-vaccinated adult, please choose to vaccinate now. Polio is completely preventable and it is such a resurgence should be a call to action for all of us.”
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Health officials say the discovery underscores the urgency of every adult, including pregnant New Yorkers and children, to keep up to date on the polio immunization schedule, particularly in the New York metro area.
Officials will continue their active, ongoing wastewater monitoring efforts in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ensuring preventive measures, particularly immunization clinics, are in place because the best way to keep New Yorkers and children polio-free is to have a maintain high levels of immunity for the entire population through safe and effective vaccination.
As of August 1, 2022, Rockland County has a 60.34% polio immunization rate and Orange County has a 58.68% polio immunization rate, compared to the statewide average of 78.96% for children who had polio by their second three Vaccinations have received birthday.
Polio can cause permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and can be fatal due to paralysis of the breathing or swallowing muscles, although most people infected with the virus have no symptoms.
However, some have flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat, fever, fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain.
One in 25 people with an infection will get viral meningitis, and about one in 200 will become paralyzed.
While there is no cure for polio, it is preventable with safe and effective vaccination.
As a core part of the CDC’s child immunization schedule, which is required for all school-age children, most children are already vaccinated.
According to the CDC, inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), the only polio vaccine given in the United States since 2000, protects 99% of children who receive all recommended doses.
The most important way children and adults can protect themselves from polio is to get vaccinated immediately if they have not received all recommended polio vaccine doses.
Health officials have increased communication with health care providers and stressed the importance of timely administration of the polio vaccine to their patients.
According to CDC:
–All children should receive four doses of the polio vaccine, with the first dose given at 6 weeks to 2 months of age, followed by doses at 4 months, 6 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years of age
– Individuals who have not been vaccinated or are unsure whether they have been vaccinated should receive a total of 3 doses if starting the vaccination course after the age of 4 years
–Adults who have received only 1 or 2 doses of the polio vaccine in the past should receive the remaining 1 or 2 doses — it doesn’t matter how long it has been since the earlier doses
Most adults do not need a polio vaccine because they were vaccinated as children.
New Yorkers who are not up to date on the vaccine should speak to their doctor or their child’s provider to schedule an appointment for the vaccine.
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https://6abc.com/cdc-polio-virus-vaccine/12120272/ Polio virus found in New York City wastewater