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In New York State, the health officials have advised that the polio cases in New York might be the “tip of the iceberg” where hundreds more could be infected, insisting that people aren’t immunized yet to get vaccinated as fast as possible.
A research team from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been arranged for the New York State Department of Health to identify several more polio samples in wastewater in two counties.
This follows the recent discovery of polio in sewage in Orange County after an unvaccinated adult contracted the disease in July 2022 in Rockland County, which was the first confirmed case of Polio in the United States since 2013. These new samples are from Rockland County and Orange County and are evidence of local transmission.
Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state Health Commissioner, said in a statement, “Because of earlier polio outbreaks, people from New York should be aware that for every one case of polio observed, there could be hundreds of others infected.”
“Combined with the wastewater results, the Department of Health is treating this single case of polio as only the tip of the iceberg of a greater possible spread. What we know now is clear: the dangers of the presence of polio in New York today. We have to treat this moment by educating the adults, which include pregnant women and children as young as two months, are up to date with vaccinations – the protection from the debilitating virus for every New Yorker is a need.”
The Health Department is urging children and adults alike to get vaccinated to stop the spread of polio, and it can cause irreversible paralysis in one in 200 cases and one in 20 of those leads to death.
When considering the immunization rate among children who’ve got three doses of the polio vaccine by two, Rockland County has an immunization rate of 60.3%. In contrast, Orange County has a vaccine rate of 58.6%. That is much lower than the national average of 78.9%.
Polio is a dangerous and very contagious disease that may spread without the diseased person knowing they have it.