November 29, 2022
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NY monitoring wastewater for polio

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The polio virus has been detected in wastewater samples from early June in Rockland County and is genetically linked to a case confirmed last month in the area, New York state Department of Health officials said Monday.

The polio cases are also genetically linked to samples from greater Jerusalem, Israel, but that “does not imply that the individual case identified in New York has travel history to Israel,” officials said.

“Polio is a dangerous disease with potentially devastating consequences,” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said. “In the United States, we are so fortunate to have available the crucial protection offered through polio vaccination, which has safeguarded our country and New Yorkers for over 60 years. Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent, and guardian to get themselves and their children vaccinated as soon as possible.”

New York and Rockland County health officials in July announced the first confirmed case of polio in the United States since 2013 and launched a wastewater analysis soon after.

The surveillance efforts included having wastewater samples shared with the Global Polio Laboratory Network, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. The New York case was confirmed to be linked genetically to two Sabin-like type 2 isolates collected from the June samples in Rockland County.

Health officials urged New York who are not vaccinated for polio, including kids 2 months and older as well as pregnant women, to get vaccinated right away. People who live, work or visit Rockland County are at the highest risk of exposure.

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