Polio found in NYC sewage as state urges vaccination

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – The polio virus was present in sewage in a New York suburb a month before health officials announced a confirmed case of the disease last month, said state health officials on Monday, urging residents to make sure they have been vaccinated.

Finding the illness from sewage samples taken in June means the virus was present in the community before the Rockland County adult’s diagnosis was made public on July 21. Read more

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an emailed statement that the presence of the virus in sewage indicates there may be more people in the community shedding the virus in their stools.

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However, the CDC added that no new cases have been identified and it is not yet clear whether the virus is actively spreading in New York or elsewhere in the United States.

Laboratory tests also confirmed that the strain in the case is genetically related to one found in Israel, although this does not mean the patient traveled to Israel, officials added. The CDC said genetic sequencing also linked it to samples of the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus in the UK.

The patient had started showing symptoms in June, when local officials asked doctors to be on the lookout for cases, according to The New York Times.

“Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent and guardian to get themselves and their children immunized as soon as possible,” the health commissioner said. State, Dr. Mary Bassett.

There is no cure for poliomyelitis, which can cause irreversible paralysis in some cases, but it can be prevented by a vaccine made available in 1955.

New York officials said they are opening vaccination clinics to help unvaccinated residents get vaccinated. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine given in the United States since 2000, according to the CDC. It is given by injection into the leg or arm, depending on the age of the patient.

Poliomyelitis is often asymptomatic and people can transmit the virus even if they don’t seem sick. But it can produce mild flu-like symptoms that can take up to 30 days to appear, officials said.

It can strike at any age, but the majority of those affected are children three and under.

The New York State Department of Health told Reuters that based on the available evidence, it was unable to conclude with certainty whether the positive polio samples came from the case identified in Rockland County. .

“Certainly when samples like these are identified, it raises concerns about the potential for community spread – which is why it is extremely important that anyone who is unvaccinated, especially in the Rockland County area, be vaccinated as soon as possible,” the department said.

The poliomyelitis vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in the 1950s was touted as a scientific success in combating the global scourge, now largely eradicated nationwide. The United States has not seen domestically generated polio cases since 1979, although cases were discovered in 1993 and 2013.

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Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Christopher Cushing

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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