According to an announcement made by the state Department of Health on Tuesday, poliovirus has been found in sewage in the area around New York City.
The most recent set of data from tests done on wastewater from both Brooklyn and Queens confirmed that polio was genetically linked to a case that had been found in Rockland County before.
On Sunday, state officials extended an executive order that declared a disaster emergency in New York. This will allow more money to be spent on polio vaccines and finding people who have the disease.
At the beginning of this summer, the New York State Department of Health verified the first case of polio in the state in almost ten years. This case was found in Rockland County. Since then, a poliovirus detection system in the wider New York City region has found some evidence of the virus’s presence in wastewater in the region.
“These findings put an alarming exclamation point on what we have already observed: unvaccinated people are at a real and unnecessary risk,” state Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said. “We have seen more New Yorkers getting vaccinated. But these latest results are a searing reminder that there is no time to waste, especially for young children, who must be brought up to date with vaccinations right away. Paralysis changes life forever. Fortunately, the response is simple: get vaccinated against polio.”
During the period beginning on July 21 and ending on October 2, more than 28,260 people in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Nassau counties were given the polio vaccine. This was done as part of an outreach effort for communities that was conducted by health officials to improve vaccination rates for the virus.