Polio has been detected in New York City wastewa-ter, suggesting local circulation of the virus, health officials said Friday.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett called the findings alarming. Bassett said local and federal health officials are aggressively assessing how far polio has spread in the city and in New York state.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” Bassett said. ”The best way to keep adults and children polio-free is through safe and effective immunization.”
Polio can result in permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and death in some cases. Health offi-cials are calling on people who are not vaccinated to get their shots immediately.
Routine vaccinations among children have de-clined in New York City since 2019, which has increased the risk of outbreaks, according to health officials. About 14% of New York City children ages 6 months to 5 years old have not completed their vaccination series against polio, which means they are not fully protected against the virus.
Overall, 86% of children ages 5 and under in New York City have received three doses of the polio vaccine, according to health officials. But there are some neighborhoods in the city where less than 70% of children are up to date on their polio vaccines, which puts kids in these communities at risk of catching polio.—Reuters