Health officials are sounding the alarm over a “likely” spread of the poliovirus in New York City after the virus was found in city wastewater.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan warned New Yorkers in a press release this week of the risk of the virus and encouraged anyone who is not vaccinated against polio to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio,” said Ashwin. “With polio circulating in our communities there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you’re an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine. Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”
State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett warned that while only one confirmed case of polio has been reported in the region recently, the virus being present in city wastewater could very likely mean it is spreading through the city. “For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” said Bassett.
Bassett went on to explain that city, state and federal authorities were working to assess the threat. “Already, the State Health Department – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread. The best way to keep adults and children polio-free is through safe and effective immunization – New Yorkers’ greatest protection against the worst outcomes of polio, including permanent paralysis and even death.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SCIENCE TIMES
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