NEW YORK (AP) — The virus that causes polio was discovered in New York City sewers, health officials said Friday, suggesting the disease, which has not been seen in the United States for a decade , spreads silently among unvaccinated populations. .
The presence of poliovirus in the city’s sewage indicates local transmission of the virus, according to city, New York state and federal health officials.
Authorities have urged parents to have their children vaccinated against the deadly disease.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real, but the protection is very simple – get the polio shot,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “As polio continues to spread in our communities, there is nothing more urgent than vaccinating our children against this virus, and if you are an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, choose to get vaccinated now. Polio is completely preventable and its resurgence should be a call to action for all of us.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Jose R. Romero said, “It’s relaxing; We know that polio spreads silently and that these communities can have many polio infected people shedding the virus. It is an urgent and vivid reminder of the importance of vaccination.
New York City is forced to fight polio as city health officials scramble to vaccinate vulnerable populations against the simian flu. and changes to Covid-19 guidelines.
“We’re dealing with a trio,” Mayor Eric Adams told CNN on Friday. “Covid is still very present. Polio, we find polio in our sewage, and we still face the smallpox crisis. But the team is there. We coordinate, deal with threats as they come our way, and stand ready to deal with them with help from Washington, DC.
The news of the discovery of the polio virus in New York comes shortly after British health officials said they had found evidence of the virus spreading in London and found no public exposure. Children aged 1-9 in London were eligible for a booster dose Polio vaccination on Wednesday.
In Rockland County, New York, a polio infection left a person paralyzed a few weeks ago. North of the city. The virus was detected in sewage samples taken in Rockland and adjacent Orange County in June.
CDC officials said there was not enough genetic material to determine if the virus identified in sewage samples taken in New York was related to the Rockland County patient.
Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, but they can still spread the virus to others for days or weeks. The vaccine offers strong protection and officials have urged those who have not received the vaccines to seek one immediately.
Officials said that based on previous outbreaks, hundreds of people in the state had been infected with polio and were unaware of it.
Polio was once one of the country’s most feared diseases, with annual outbreaks crippling thousands of people. This disease mainly affects children.
Vaccines have been available since 1955, and nationwide vaccination campaigns reduced the annual number of cases in the United States to less than 100 in the 1960s and less than 10 in the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A small percentage of people infected with poliomyelitis suffer from paralysis. The disease is fatal in 5 to 10% of people with disabilities.
Polio vaccination is mandatory for all school-aged children in New York, but Rockland and Orange counties are known hotspots of vaccine resistance.
According to the most recent CDC childhood immunization data, 93% of 2-year-olds have received at least three doses of the polio vaccine. But in New York State, the rate is only 80%, and it’s even lower in areas where polio cases have been reported – just 60% in Rockland County and 59% in Orange County, according to state data.