Poliovirus Found in New York Wastewater in June 2022

Rockland County wastewater surveillance detected poliovirus
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by Nordine Ait Sahed
Rockland County (Precision Vaccinations News)

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) today published an update regarding the identification of a case of polio in a Rockland County resident on July 21, 2022.

Since then, NYSDOH launched wastewater surveillance, among other detection efforts, to check for signs of poliovirus. 

Following analysis from the Centers for U.S. Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the poliovirus was detected in samples from June 2022 in Rockland County. 

As part of ongoing surveillance efforts, New York wastewater samples are shared with the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN). 

The GPLN confirmed on July 29, 2022, that the case in Rockland County is genetically linked to two Sabin-like type 2 isolates, collected from the early June samples from Rockland County and samples from greater Jerusalem, Israel.

And is linked to the recently-detected Vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 from environmental samples in London, UK. 

The NYSDOH stated ‘New Yorkers should know that this does not imply that the individual case identified in New York has travel history to Israel or the UK.’

This unsettling finding underscores the critical importance of polio vaccinations to protect everyone from this serious and potentially fatal disease.

"Polio is a dangerous disease with potentially devastating consequences," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett stated in a press release on August 1, 2022. 

“Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent, and guardian to vaccinate themselves and their children as soon as possible."

All New Yorkers who are unvaccinated, including children 2 months and older, those who are pregnant, and those who have not completed their polio vaccine series, should get vaccinated immediately. 

Unvaccinated New Yorkers who live, work, attend school, or visit Rockland County are at the highest risk of exposure. 

Rockland County currently has a polio vaccination rate of 60.5% among two-year-olds compared to the statewide average of 79.1%.*

In 2021, more than 372 million children were vaccinated multiple times in 30 countries, using more than one billion oral polio vaccines.

Polio is a serious and life-threatening disease, says the CDC. 

Spread from person to person, polio is very contagious, and an individual can transmit the virus even if they aren't sick. And some polio cases can result in paralysis or death.

While there is no treatment or cure for polio, it is preventable through safe and effective vaccination.

According to the CDC, inactivated poliovirus vaccine, which is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the United States since 2000, protects 99% of children who get all the recommended doses.

On July 29, 2022, the CDC published a travel advisory confirming that ‘before any international travel to Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series.'

And prior to visiting any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends adults who previously completed the routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.

Health care providers, such as pharmacists, offer polio vaccination services throughout the USA.

Additional polio outbreak news is posted at Vax-Before-Travel

PrecisionVaccinations publishes fact-checked, research-based vaccine news curated for mobile readership.

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