Polio virus found in New York sewage

Polio virus found in New York sewage

In mid-July, a case of polio was recorded north of Manhattan. The spread of the virus would be local. The authorities are calling on residents to get vaccinated.

State Health Officer Mary Bassett Says Finding Polio Virus in Samples Disturbing Juli M./stock.adobe.com

The polio virus has been detected in New York City sewage, “suggesting that the virus is likely circulating locally,” city health officials warned Friday, August 12, calling on residents to get vaccinated if they don’t. they are not already.

“The detection of polio virus in samples of New York City wastewater is concerning, but not surprising,” said Mary Bassett, a state health official, in a statement. In mid-July, a case of polio was recorded in Rockland County, a few dozen kilometers north of Manhattan. It was the first case of polio in the country for nearly a decade.

Traces of the virus had then already been found in the wastewater of this county and another nearby. For each case of the disease identified, “several hundred could remain undetected”, warned Mary Bassett. Those people who do not develop symptoms can still transmit the disease. Polio, an extremely contagious viral disease affecting children in particular, can cause permanent paralysis of the limbs, and even death in some cases. “The risk to New Yorkers is real, but defending yourself is so simple: Get your polio shot,” said City Hall Health Officer Ashwin Vasan.

Only 86% of children in New York City between the ages of 6 months and 5 years have received three doses of the vaccine, according to a press release from the authorities, some 14% of them thus not being fully protected. A free or low-cost vaccination site has been set up for children. Experts from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) have been sent to the state to help with screening and vaccination operations. “The consequences of polio are devastating and irreversible, and these latest developments are cause for concern,” the CDC wrote.

The disease has been virtually eradicated worldwide. But in June, British authorities announced that they had detected traces of a form of polio in a sewage treatment plant in north-east London. Vaccination of children has been reinforced there.

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