Sewage samples outside New York suggest community spread

Poliomyelitis virus particle, computer illustration.

Katerina Kon | Scientific photo library | Getty Images

Polio was found in sewage samples taken from two counties outside of New York, indicating the virus is spreading in the community, state health officials say.

Sewage samples taken from two different locations in Orange County in June and July tested positive for the virus, according to the New York State Department of Health.

The findings come after an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County contracted polio, suffered paralysis and required hospitalization last month. Polio was later discovered in sewage samples from Rockland County. Rockland County borders Orange County.

“These environmental findings – which further indicate potential community spread – in addition to the paralytic polio case identified among a Rockland County resident, underscore the urgency for every adult and child in New York to get vaccinated against polio. polio, especially those in the greater New York metropolitan area,” New York health officials said.

The strain of polio caught by the Rockland County adult suggests the chain of transmission did not begin in the United States. The strain contracted by the individual is used in the oral polio vaccine, which contains a mild version of the virus that can still replicate. This means that people who receive the oral vaccine can transmit the virus to others.

But the United States has not used the oral polio vaccine for more than 20 years. The United States uses an inactivated polio vaccine that is given by injection in the leg or arm. The vaccine uses a non-replicating virus strain, which means that people who receive the vaccine cannot infect other people.

The polio case in New York is genetically linked to the sewage sample from Rockland County as well as samples from the greater Jerusalem area in Israel and London in the UK. UK health authorities declared a national incident in June after detecting polio in sewage samples from London.

“New Yorkers should be aware that this does not imply that the individual case identified in Rockland County, New York, has a travel history to Israel or the United Kingdom,” the health department said. New York State.

No polio cases have appeared in the United States since 1979 and the country has been considered polio-free since then, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Polio caused widespread fear in the 1940s before vaccines were available. The virus disabled more than 35,000 people each year during this time, according to the CDC.

But a successful vaccination campaign in the 1950s and 1960s drastically reduced the number of infections. Polio cases are still reported in the United States, but they are linked to travelers who bring the virus into the country. The case in Rockland County is the first time the United States has confirmed an infection since 2013. New York State last confirmed an infection in 1990.

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