Potential community spread of polio in NY identified

Wastewater surveillance has found signs of the polio virus potentially spreading in the Hudson Valley.

An initial case of polio was diagnosed in a Rockland County resident last month.

The New York State Department of Health started checking wastewater across the region to attempt to detect the spread of the virus.

On July 29, state officials say the polio virus was detected in wastewater samples from June in Rockland County.

On Tuesday, the state told the Orange County Department of Health that analysis from the CDC detected the polio virus in wastewater samples taken from June and July in two geographically different locations in Orange County.

They say the samples indicate the potential community spread of polio.

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State health officials urge every New York adult and child to get immunized against polio, especially those in the greater New York metropolitan area.

As part of ongoing surveillance efforts, New York wastewater samples are 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 as well as to the recently-detected VDPV2 from environmental samples in London, UK.

They say that does not imply that the individual with polio in Rockland County has traveled to Israel or the UK.

What is polio caused by?

According to the CDC, polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect the spinal cord, causing paralysis.

How does polio spread?

Poliovirus is very contagious. It spreads through contact with the stool (feces) of an infected person or droplets from a sneeze or cough.

Who is at risk of polio?

Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age

Is there a cure for polio?

No, there is no polio cure.  The polio vaccine is the only protection.