Polio Detected in New York City Wastewater, Officials Announce

Health officials discovered the polio virus in samples of New York City’s wastewater, The Washington Post reports.

New York officials last month revealed that an unvaccinated 20-year-old man in Rockland County, just outside of New York City, tested positive for polio and was having difficulty walking.

The infection is the first confirmed positive case of polio in the United States in nearly a decade.

The man was part of an Orthodox Jewish community that has low rates of vaccination against polio.

But health centers in the area have not reported any subsequent cases since the man tested positive in June.

NYC wastewater:

Though there have been no new confirmed cases, health officials said Friday that the virus was discovered in New York City wastewater, suggesting “likely local circulation of the virus.”

“Polio can lead to paralysis and even death,” city officials warned.

“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple — get vaccinated against polio,” city Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said in a news release. “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.”

Officials warn of quick spread:

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said last week. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread.”


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