Poliovirus Confirmed in NYC Wastewater
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) updated New Yorkers today on the detection of poliovirus in sewage.
This finding suggests likely local circulation of the virus in NYC that can lead to permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and even death in some cases.
These findings follow the identification of a case of paralytic polio among a Rockland County resident on July 21, 2022, and the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples collected in May, June, and July from Rockland and Orange Counties in lower New York.
As of August 1, 2022, Rockland County had a polio vaccination rate of about 60%, and Orange County at 58%.
"The risk to New Yorkers is real, but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio," said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan in a press release on August 12, 2022.
"With polio circulating in our communities, there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus."
"And if you're an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine."
"Polio is entirely preventable, and its reappearance (in NYC) should be a call to action for all of us."
In NYC, children four years and older can get low- or no-cost vaccines at the NYC Health Department's Fort Greene Health Center at 295 Flatbush Ave. Ext., Fifth Floor, Brooklyn, NY, from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To make an appointment, visit nyc.gov and search for an immunization clinic.
"For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett added.
"The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in NYC is alarming, but not surprising."
The percentage of children who received three doses of polio vaccine in NYC as of June 30, 2022, was about 86%, with some sections reporting a below 60% vaccination rate.
In the USA, combination and single polio vaccines are available in pediatrician practices and local pharmacies.
Additional polio outbreak news is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Polio.