Polio Detected in Wastewater From NY County With Low Vaccine Rates

  • Polio was detected in wastewater samples from Rockland County, New York. 
  • Health officials are urging unvaccinated people in New York to get the vaccine. 
  • Rockland County has polio vaccination rates well below the state average. 

New York’s Health Department is urging people in the state to get vaccinated against polio after the virus was detected in the wastewater of a county with low vaccination rates. 

“Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent, and guardian to get themselves and their children vaccinated as soon as possible,” State Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett said in a press release. 

The virus was detected in wastewater samples from Rockland County, where the first case of polio since 2013 was detected in an unvaccinated man in July. 

Rockland County has a vaccination rate of 60.5% among 2-year-olds, while the statewide average is 79.1%, according to the press release. 

The majority of Americans are vaccinated against polio, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By two years old, 92.6% of Americans have received three or more doses of the vaccine. 

Polio can cause flu-like symptoms in about a quarter of cases, including sore throat, fever, stomach pains, headache, and nausea, according to the CDC. Less than one out of every 100 people who catch the virus experience more severe symptoms, including paralysis and infection of the spinal cord and brain. 

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