According to New York Health Department, Hundreds of people may have polio virus

According to New York Health Department, Hundreds of people may have polio virus

Health officials from the state of New York have issued a warning that hundreds of individuals may be infected with the potentially dangerous virus after discovering evidence of fresh cases of polio virus in wastewater samples from two different counties.

In Rockland County, up north of New York City, the New York Health Department just two weeks ago revealed the country’s first case of polio in over a decade. According to officials, that case involved an unvaccinated young adult who was previously healthy and who later experienced paralysis in their legs. Since then, the health agency reported in a news release on Thursday, three positive wastewater samples from Rockland County and four from nearby Orange County were found and genetically related to the initial case. This suggests that the polio virus is spreading among local communities. The most recent samples were collected in July from one location in Rockland County and two locations in Orange County.

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today.”

The health service stated once more that it is still looking into the virus’s source and that it is unclear at this time if the infection in Rockland County is connected to the other instances.

Polio is “a dangerous and potentially fatal disease,” according to the state health agency. It is very contagious and can be transmitted by individuals who do not yet exhibit symptoms. Within 30 days of infection, symptoms typically occur and can be minor or flu-like. Infected individuals may pass away or become paralyzed.

Before the polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s, polio outbreaks claimed the lives of thousands of Americans and left tens of thousands, mostly children, paralyzed. Following an effective vaccination effort, polio was formally deemed eradicated in the United States in 1979

The health department advised unvaccinated New Yorkers to be vaccinations immediately away. The biggest risk is to unvaccinated people who reside in, work in, or visit Rockland County, Orange County, and the broader New York metropolitan area.

The majority of school-aged children have gotten the four-dose polio vaccine series, which is administered between the ages of 6 weeks and 2 months, followed by shots at 4 months, 6 to 12 months, and between the ages of 4 and 6. The health department reports that, compared to the statewide average of 79 percent, only roughly 60 percent of children in Orange County and 59 percent of children in Rockland County have received three polio vaccines before their second birthday.

In the U.S., 93% of 2-year-olds had at least three doses of the polio vaccine, according to the CDC’s most recent data on childhood immunization.

According to the health department, those who are not currently immunized would receive a three-dose vaccine, and those who are immunized but at high risk might receive a lifetime booster shot.

According to health officials, the vaccination is 99 percent effective in youngsters who receive the full four doses.

“It is concerning that polio, a disease that has been largely eradicated through vaccination, is now circulating in our community, especially given the low rates of vaccination for this debilitating disease in certain areas of our County,” Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said. “I urge all unvaccinated Orange County residents to get vaccinated as soon as medically feasible.”

Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the commissioner of the Rockland County Department of Health, made a similar announcement, urging those who had not received vaccinations to do so “immediately.”

Since polio was proclaimed eradicated in the U.S. more than 40 years ago, it has only seldom returned. According to The Associated Press, a traveler filed the final reported instance in 2013.

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