With the polio virus being found in NY’s wastewater once again, the state health commissioner has said there could be “hundreds” of people infected as new evidence shows the virus has been found in samples from multiple counties.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, claimed that the total number of people infected may be far higher than many would expect. She said, “Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected.”
“Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today. We must meet this moment by ensuring that adults, including pregnant people, and young children by 2 months of age are up to date with their immunization – the safe protection against this debilitating virus that every New Yorker needs,” continued Bassett.
Health officials said the samples from the confirmed Rockland County case appear genetically linked to two collected from the early June samples from Rockland County and samples from greater Jerusalem, Israel, as well as to the recently-detected environmental samples in London. The Rockland County resident had no known travel to London, officials said.
Polio, which was once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, was declared eliminated in the United States in 1979, more than two decades after vaccines became available. Its discovery in Rockland County prompted a local vaccine drive.