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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsHealthNew York Declares State of Emergency as Polio Continues to Spread

New York Declares State of Emergency as Polio Continues to Spread

Polio Vaccine Injection
New York Declares State of Emergency as Polio Continues to Spread. Credit: Marco Verch/ flickr CC BY 2.0

Circulating polio virus has been detected in Long Island wastewater samples, indicating an increasing risk of paralytic illness and resulting in the declaration of a state of disaster emergency in New York on Friday.

After U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sequence analysis revealed polio in a wastewater sample taken in August from Nassau County, governor Kathy Hochul issued the executive order, increasing resources available for the state to fight viral spread.

The case of paralytic polio, the first in the US in nearly a decade, was genetically connected to the sample and was discovered earlier this summer in Rockland County just north of New York City.

Additionally, the virus has been identified in wastewater samples of New York City and the nearby counties of Orange and Sullivan. According to the New York Department of Health, every sample that has been inspected contains polio virus strains that can paralyze a person.

New York Has Confirmed One Incidence of Paralytic Polio

New York has officially confirmed only a single incidence of paralytic polio despite the fact that health officials warned that “for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected.”

All New Yorkers were reminded to ensure that they are current on their polio immunizations by Health Commissioner Mary Bassett.

In a statement, Bassett said “On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice [because] the risk of paralytic disease is real…I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all. Polio immunization is safe and effective [in] protecting nearly all people…who receive the recommended doses [against disease].”

The network of healthcare professionals who may administer the polio vaccination is instantly expanded by Hochul’s emergency order to include emergency medical personnel, midwives, and pharmacists in the network. Additionally, this enables doctors and licensed nurse practitioners to issue standing orders for polio immunizations that are not patient-specific.

The New York Department of Health claims that the additional requirement in the order enables state and local health officials to concentrate vaccination efforts in high-need areas by requiring health providers to provide data on polio immunizations to respective communities.

The emergency declaration is scheduled to end on October 9th. It follows the emergency proclamations Hochul made in reaction to the monkeypox epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Just two weeks after state health officials revealed that polio virus had been identified in wastewater samples from Sullivan County, the governor issued its most recent emergency declaration.

The nation’s first case of polio in a decade was confirmed in New York in July when wastewater was inspected for COVID-19 spread. Federal health officials discovered the virus may have been spreading in the state at least since this past spring.

After a vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 case, discovered in stool samples of a young adult from Rockland County on July 18th, the New York Department of Health, the CDC, and local health officials began looking into the spread of polio in New York.


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