The virus that causes polio has been found in New York City’s sewage, in another sign the disease, which hasn’t appeared in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday .
The presence of the poliovirus in the city’s sewage suggests a likely local circulation of the virus, health officials for the city, New York state and the federal government said.
Authorities urged parents to have their children vaccinated against the potentially deadly disease.
After the first polio case in the US in ten years, doctors in Canada are emphasizing vaccination
“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 make a decision to get the vaccine now. Polio is completely preventable and its resurgence should prompt action from all of us.”
dr Jose R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “This is sobering; We know that polio is spreading quietly, and it is likely that many people in these communities are infected with polio and are shedding the virus. This is also an urgent and living reminder of the importance of vaccination.”
Canada could test sewage for polio ‘should need to’: Tam
New York City is being forced to fight polio as city health officials struggle to vaccinate vulnerable populations against monkeypox and adapt to changing COVID-19 guidelines.
“We’re dealing with a trifecta,” Mayor Eric Adams said on CNN on Friday. “COVID is still very strong. Polio, we have identified polio in our sewage and we are still dealing with the monkeypox crisis. But the team is there. And we coordinate and respond to the threats as they arise, and we stand ready to deal with them with the support of Washington, DC.”
The announcement of the discovery of poliovirus in New York City comes shortly after UK health officials reported they had found evidence the virus had spread to London but found no human cases. Children aged 1 to 9 in London were approved for booster doses of a polio vaccine on Wednesday.
CONTINUE READING: New York records its first polio case in over a decade
Weeks ago in New York, a person became paralyzed from polio in Rockland County north of the city. Sewage samples collected in June from both Rockland and adjacent Orange County were found to contain the virus.
CDC officials said the virus, identified in sewage samples collected in New York City, did not contain enough genetic material to determine if they were linked to the Rockland County patient.
Most people who are infected with polio have no symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others for days or weeks. The vaccine provides strong protection, and authorities have urged people who have not yet received the vaccine to get one immediately.
Based on previous outbreaks, it’s possible hundreds of people in the state have contracted polio and don’t know it, officials said.
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Polio was once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, with annual outbreaks causing thousands of cases of paralysis. The disease mainly affects children.
Vaccines became available starting in 1955, and a national vaccination campaign reduced the annual number of U.S. cases to fewer than 100 in the 1960s and fewer than 10 in the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A small percentage of people who contract polio become paralyzed. The disease is fatal for 5-10% of the paralyzed.
All schoolchildren in New York are required to be vaccinated against polio, but Rockland and Orange County are both known centers of vaccine resistance.
According to the CDC’s most recent childhood immunization data, about 93% of 2-year-olds had received at least three doses of polio vaccine. But the rate is only 80% in upstate New York and is far lower in the area where the polio case was reported — just 60% in Rockland County and 59% in Orange County, according to state data.
© 2022 The Associated Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/9056391/polio-new-york-children-unvaccinated/ Polio detected in NYC sewage, virus likely spreading among unvaccinated: officials – National