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HEALTH AUTHORITIES of New York State reported Friday the detection of poliovirus (the virus that causes paralytic poliomyelitis) in sewage. This would be confirming the possible local circulation of the virus. Polio can cause permanent paralysis of arms and legs and even death in some cases.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected. The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Health Department – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread”, explained Mary T. Bassett, M.D., State Health Commissioner.
Getting Vaccinated to Avoid Polio
The physician urged citizens to get vaccinated against the disease: “the best way to keep adults and children polio-free is through safe and effective immunization – New Yorkers’ greatest protection against the worst outcomes of polio, including permanent paralysis and even death.”
Ashwin Vasan, M.D. and the city’s Health Commissioner, agreed with Basset. “The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio. 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 should be a call to action for all of us”, Basset pointed out.
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The investigation into the presence of the disease came after a case of paralytic polio was reported among a Rockland County resident on July 21.