Polio detected in New York City’s wastewater

Polio detected in New York City's wastewater

 

Polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater weeks after a case of the disease was discovered in Rockland County, to the north of the city, health officials announced on Friday.

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The detection of the polio virus in the city’s wastewater indicates that the virus is most likely being circulated locally, according to the city and state health officials.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said the detection of polio virus in wastewater samples in New York City is “alarming, but not surprising.”

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The statement comes after British health officials reported detecting indications of the virus spreading in London but no human cases. On Wednesday, children aged 1 to 9 in London were declared eligible for booster doses of polio vaccine.

Earlier this month, New York state health officials said they found indications of additional cases of poliovirus in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people may be infected with the potentially serious virus.

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Last month, the New York Health Department reported the nation’s first case of polio in almost a decade, in Rockland County. Officials said that case occurred in a previously healthy young adult who was unvaccinated and developed paralysis in their legs.

Most people infected with polio have no symptoms but can still give the virus to others for days or weeks.

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Polio was once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, with annual outbreaks causing thousands of cases of paralysis. The disease mostly affects children.

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