September 30, 2022
New York government declares state of emergency after poliovirus is found in more wastewater

ALBANY, NY (AP) – New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Friday that the state is stepping up its efforts to fight polio as the virus that causes the life-threatening disease, the waste of another county in the New York City area. was found in water. ,

Health officials begin testing for signs of virus in sewage water first case of polio In the United States in nearly a decade it was recognized in July in Rockland County, which is north of the city. The latest detection involved a sample of wastewater collected last month in Nassau County on Long Island, east of the city.

Illustration of poliovirus.
Illustration of poliovirus.

Thom Leach / Science Photo Library via Getty Images

State health officials said the sample is genetically linked to a polio case from Rockland and provides evidence of expanding community spread. Poliovirus was first detected in wastewater in New York City and in three counties to its north: Rockland, Orange and Sullivan.

Hochul declared a state emergency that allows EMS workers, midwives and pharmacists to administer polio vaccines and allows doctors to issue standing orders for the vaccine. Data on vaccination will be used to focus vaccination efforts where they are most needed.

New York Governor Cathy Hochul.
New York Governor Cathy Hochul.

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

“On polio, we can’t just roll the dice,” state health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a prepared statement. “If you or your child is vaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralysis is real. I urge the people of New York to not accept any risk at all.”

Health officials said all non-vaccinated New York residents — including babies as young as 2 months old, pregnant people and those who have not completed their vaccine series — should get vaccinated immediately. He also urged boosters for some people, such as health workers in affected areas who treat patients who may have polio.

The statewide polio vaccination rate is 79%, but rates were lower in the counties of Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan.

Officials have said that it is possible that hundreds of people in the state may have got polio and they may not be aware of it. Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, but they can still pass the virus to others for days or weeks.

The only confirmed case in New York involved an unidentified young adult who had not been vaccinated.

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