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Sewage samples in New York City provided to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified presence of polioviruses indicating a risk of community transmission

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ALBANY, NY (August 12, 2022) – The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) updated New York today on the detection of poliovirus (the virus that causes paralytic polio ). ) in sewage, suggesting that the virus was likely to be introduced into local circulation. This may interest you : Opinion: Why Rosa DeLauro’s proposal for a food safety agency is so important. Poliomyelitis can lead to permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and even death in some cases.

“For every case of paralytic poliomyelitis identified, there may be hundreds more who are undiagnosed,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Department of Health – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing an investigation cases and aggressively assessing spread. The best way to contain spread. adults and children are polio-free through safe and effective immunization – New Yorkers’ greatest defense against polio’s worst consequences , including permanent paralysis and even death.”

“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the protection is so simple – get vaccinated against polio,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “With polio circulating in our communities there is nothing more important than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you are an unvaccinated adult or not fully vaccinated, choose now to get the vaccine. reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”

These findings follow the identification of a case of paralytic poliomyelitis among a Rockland County resident on July 21, and the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples collected in May, June and July from neighboring New York City, Rockland and Orange counties. County – which emphasized the urgency. all adults, including pregnant New Yorkers, and children who stay up to date with the polio immunization schedule, especially those in the greater New York area. NYSDOH and NYCDOHMH will continue their active, ongoing wastewater surveillance efforts in partnership with CDC and to ensure that prevention measures, particularly immunization clinics, are in place as the best way to keep New Yorkers and children polio-free maintain high immunity throughout the population. through safe and effective immunization.

Vaccine coverage for routinely recommended vaccines among children in New York City has declined since 2019, putting us at risk for outbreaks and serious complications of vaccine-preventable diseases. Only 86.2% of NYC children aged 6 months to 5 years have received 3 doses of the polio vaccine – nearly 14% are still not fully protected. Of particular concern are neighborhoods where coverage of children aged six months to five years with three doses of the polio vaccine is less than 70%, putting these children at risk of contracting polio.

As of August 1, 2022, Rockland County has a polio vaccination rate of 60.34 percent and Orange County has a polio vaccination rate of 58.68 percent, compared to the state average of 78.96 percent, among children who received 3 polio immunizations before second birthday .

The paralysis can lead to permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and can be fatal due to paralysis of the muscles used to breathe or swallow. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms, although some will have flu-like symptoms, such as a sore throat, fever, fatigue, nausea and stomach pain. One in 25 people infected will develop viral meningitis and one in 200 will become paralyzed. Although there is no cure for polio, it can be prevented through safe and effective immunization.

A central component of the CDC’s childhood immunization schedule and required by the NYSDOH for all school-age children, most children are already vaccinated. According to CDC, the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), which has been the only polio immunization given in the United States since 2000, protects 99% of children who receive all recommended doses.

The most important way for children and adults to protect themselves from polio is to get vaccinated right away if they haven’t had all the recommended doses of polio vaccine. Health officials have increased communication with health care providers, emphasizing the importance of timely administration of the polio vaccine among their patients. According to CDC:

Most adults do not need the polio vaccine because they were already vaccinated as children. New Yorkers who are not up to date on vaccinations should talk to their health care provider or their child’s provider to schedule an appointment for vaccinations against polio and other dangerous diseases, such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, chicken pox and COVID-19.

Polio outbreaks are occurring all over the world. Children and adults should be up to date on polio and other routine immunizations before travelling. Adults who received the polio vaccine as children should receive a once-in-a-lifetime booster if they are traveling to an area with poliovirus transmission.

NYSDOH has engaged community-based organizations in the affected areas to partner on outreach, spreading education about the virus, the safe, protective nature of established immunization, and the seriousness of the current situation. NYCDOHMH is working with local providers and community leaders to promote vaccination and is developing content for popular local communication channels.

People without a provider can call 311 or 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) for help finding one. Care is provided in New York City regardless of immigration status, insurance or ability to pay.

Also, children ages 4 and older can get low-cost or no-cost vaccines at the NYC Department of Health’s Fort Greene Health Center at 295 Flatbush Ave. Ext., Fifth Floor, Brooklyn, NY, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. To make an appointment, visit and search for an immunization clinic.

New Yorkers can learn more about polio and polio immunization here.

Polio vaccination rates by county are available here and more information on wastewater surveillance is available here.

About New York State Polio Vaccination Rates

*Based on data calculated as of August 1, 2022, from the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), polio vaccination rates include all counties in New York, with the exception of New York City. The rate is calculated based on data from children who received 3 polio immunizations before their second birthday, who reported their residence as New York State, provided their county of residence was in New York State, and who have at least one immunization or have a new maximum state. York State birth record. As of January 8, 2008, all health care providers in New York State are required to report all immunizations given to persons under the age of 19, along with the person’s immunization history, to NYSDOH using NYSIIS. New York City maintains its own non-COVID-19 immunization records through the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR).

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