Health authorities say polio detected in New York City sewage can be alarming
New York State Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, called the recent reports alarming. The commissioner informed that federal and local authorities are determinedly assessing the extent of the virus’ spread in New York.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” Bassett said. “The best way to keep adults and children polio-free is through safe and effective immunization.”
Polio can end up in long-term paralysis of the arms and legs and can be fatal. Therefore, health officials are advocating polio shots for those unvaccinated.
The authorities also stated that regular vaccination appointments among children have lessened since the pandemic in New York. They believe it may be the reason for a surge in the risk of outbreaks.
Over 14% of children living in NYC aged between six months to five years have not completed their vaccination course against polio, health authorities said. These children are under risk as they are not fully protected against the virus.
Most adults were vaccinated against the virus in childhood. At least 80% of people have been vaccinated across New York State.
The spread of polio is a potential risk to unvaccinated people. Although, the polio vaccine is not 100% effective in fully immunized people.
Recent case of polio and further risk
Friday’s announcement came after a man was stricken with polio that left him with paralysis. He lived north of New York City, in Rockland County.
Health officials said they detected the virus in the wastewater in Rockland County and neighboring Orange County, according to the CNBC.
According to the health department, polio detected in New York City sewage could lead to other cases of paralytic polio.
This is the first time polio has been detected in NYC. Before the recent outbreak, the last case of the virus was detected in 2013 in the United States, The New York Times reported.