New York Health Officials Send Polio Warning!
New York City Health Officials have warned that it is highly likely polio is circulating in the five boroughs of New York City. This is after traces of the disease were discovered in the city’s wastewater.
Cases of the disease have been detected in both Rockland and Orange county in recent weeks. The first case detected was in Rockland County. The man was unvaccinated and did not notify officials that he had contracted polio until he developed paralysis, one of the symptoms of the disease. According to reports, this was the first polio case detected in the United States since 2013.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a press release Friday, August 12th.
“With polio circulating in our communities, there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you’re an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine.”
Polio, a disease that has no cure and had been a problem for years, was fought by the implementation of a global vaccination program that nearly succeeded in eradicating it completely. While it is nowhere near as prevalent as it was in the past, it is still present in some countries.
One of the main concerns is that certain areas in the city are not fully vaccinated against the disease. According to city health statistics, 86.2% of the children in the city between the ages of six months and five years are vaccinated.
More Insight on the Polio warning by health officials…
However, areas such as Williamsburg, Battery Park City, and Bedford-Stuyvesant have vaccination rates below 60%. Rockland and Orange County share similar statistics with the latter seeing vaccination rates as low as 58%. This should be a worry as there is a danger to the unvaccinated in the event there is a polio outbreak.
Three doses of the current vaccine will provide 99% efficacy against severe disease.
While paralysis is a single symptom of polio, it is perhaps one of its worst. It is a consequence of the disease that should serve as a serious warning to those who are unvaccinated.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.
“The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Health Department – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread.”
New York City is still in the process of returning to normalcy since the COVID-19 pandemic. Matters have not been made easier by the Monkeypox outbreak that has been declared a public health emergency. A possible polio outbreak would be an extra problem for both city and state.