Wastewater samples outside of New York suggest distribution to the public

Polio virus particle, computer illustration.

Katerina Cohn | Scientific Photo Library | Getty Images

Polio has been found in sewage samples taken from two counties outside of New York, indicating the virus is spreading in the community, according to state health officials.

Wastewater samples taken at two different locations in Orange County in June and July tested positive for the virus. according to the New York State Department of Health.

Conclusions come after unvaccinated adult in Rockland County contracted polio, suffered paralysis and had to be hospitalized last month. Subsequently, polio was found in wastewater samples from Rockland County. Rockland County is adjacent to Orange County.

‚ÄúThese environmental data, which also point to potential community spread, in addition to the case of paralytic polio identified in a Rockland County resident, highlights the urgent need to immunize every New York City adult and child against polio, especially in the New York metropolitan area. “New York City health officials said.

The strain of polio that an adult caught in Rockland County suggests that the chain of transmission did not begin in the United States. The strain that a person has contracted is used in an oral polio vaccine that contains a mild version of the virus that can still replicate. This means that people who receive the oral vaccine can transmit the virus to others.

But the US has not used an oral polio vaccine for more than 20 years. In the United States, an inactivated polio vaccine is used, which is given as a shot in the leg or arm. The vaccine uses a non-replicating strain of the virus, which means that people who get the vaccine cannot infect other people.

The polio case in New York is genetically linked to the Rockland County sewage sample, as well as samples from the Greater Jerusalem area in Israel and London in the United Kingdom. UK health authorities declared a national incident in June after they discovered polio in sewage samples from London.

“New Yorkers should be aware that this does not mean that an individual case identified in Rockland County, New York had a history of travel to Israel or the UK,” the New York State Department of Health said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been no cases of polio in the US since 1979, and the country has been considered polio-free ever since. Polio caused widespread fear in the 1940s, when vaccines were not yet available. During that time, the virus has maimed more than 35,000 people annually, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But a successful vaccination campaign in the 1950s and 1960s dramatically reduced infections. Cases of polio are still reported in the US, but they are associated with travelers who bring the virus into the country. The case in Rockland County is the first case of confirmed infection in the US since 2013. New York State last confirmed the infection in 1990.

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