Polio found in New York sewage as state urges vaccines

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

The discovery of the illness from sewage samples collected 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 stool.

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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 linked to one found in Israel, although that does not mean the patient traveled to Israel, authorities added. The CDC said genetic sequencing also linked him to samples of the highly contagious and life-threatening virus in the UK.

The patient had started showing symptoms in June, when local officials asked doctors to keep an eye on cases, according to the New York Times.

“Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for all adults, parents and guardians to vaccinate themselves and their children as soon as possible,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. .

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

New York officials have said they are opening vaccine clinics to help unvaccinated residents get vaccinated. The 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 patient’s age.

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

It can appear at any age, but most of those affected are children three years old or younger.

The New York State Department of Health told Reuters that, based on available evidence, it could not 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’s critically important that anyone who isn’t vaccinated, particularly in the Rockland County area, get vaccinated as soon as possible.” possible”. the department said.

The polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in the 1950s was heralded as a scientific breakthrough in tackling the global scourge, now largely eradicated across the country. The United States has not seen a domestically generated case of polio since 1979, although cases were found in 1993 and 2013.

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Information from Susan Heavey; Edited by Aurora Ellis and Christopher Cushing

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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