On Friday, health authorities revealed the polio virus had been detected in New York City.
The officials said they found the virus from the sewage samples that arrived three weeks after the long-defeated virus reemerged in Rockland County, north of the city.
According to reports, the U.S. had gone almost a decade without logging any polio cases before the Rockland County case.
However, the reported arrival of the potentially paralyzing pathogen in the five boroughs suggests local community spread.
“This is something we’re monitoring closely,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
“This is a very, very serious disease,” Hochul added.
Hochul said vaccinations are New York’s best defense against the return of polio and said the time had arrived to “sound the alarm” about the threat.
It was reported that though about 70% of people infected with the highly contagious polio virus do not display symptoms, around 25% suffer from flu-like symptoms.
“For every case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” Dr. Mary Bassett, the state health commissioner, said in a statement.
“The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming but not surprising,” Bassett added.