NEW YORK - The New York State Department of Health has detected the polio virus in wastewater in suburban NY. State health officials began wastewater surveillance to check for signs of the virus after a polio case was detected in Rockland County. The virus was detected in samples taken in Rockland County in June.
The wastewater samples are being shared with the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN), which includes CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
GPLN confirmed that the case in New York is genetically linked to two Sabin-like type 2 (SL2) isolates, collected from the early June samples from Rockland County and samples from greater Jerusalem, Israel.
Health officials warn that this does not imply that the New York victim has a travel history to Israel.
State health officials say they continue to aggressively assess the spread of the virus and make sure vaccination clinics are in place.
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They say that anyone who is unvaccinated, including children 2 months and older and those who are pregnant, should get vaccinated right away.
They warn that anyone who lives, works, goes to school in, or visits Rockland County is at the highest risk of exposure.
Health officials say it is critically important that people be vaccinated against the virus.
"Polio is a dangerous disease with potentially devastating consequences," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "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.
Polio is spread from person-to-person and is very contagious. A person can transmit the virus even if they aren't sick.
Symptoms, which can be mild and flu-like, can take up to 30 days to appear, during which time an infected individual can be shedding virus to others. Some polio cases can result in paralysis or death.
There is no treatment or cure for polio.