In Rockland County, north of New York City, where the United States reported its first case of polio in nearly ten years two weeks ago, specialists worry that an outbreak may have infected hundreds of locals.
The first incidence included a previously healthy young adult who became paralysed in the legs after receiving the oral polio vaccine, which hasn’t been given in the nation since 2000. Since the oral vaccination is still in use in the United States, health experts speculated that the transmission may have started elsewhere.
Experts have discovered signs of other instances since the initial case was discovered in wastewater samples from the adjacent Orange County and Rockland County. According to a press release from the New York Health Department, four wastewater samples from the latter were found and genetically related to the initial case, while three wastewater samples from the former tested positively for polio.
The results strongly imply that the polio virus has spread throughout the neighbourhood. It is important to note that not everyone who contracts the poliovirus experiences paralysis but instead mild, flu-like symptoms.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett stated, “Based on prior polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should be aware that for every case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other persons affected.”
The Department is taking the lone instance of polio as only the tip of a much larger potential spread, she stated, “together with the most recent wastewater discoveries. What we already know is crystal clear: there is still a polio threat in New York today.
Smells from nature make us feel calm and optimistic
The health department is still trying to determine where the poliovirus first arrived in New York City. According to CBS News, it is also unknown whether the initial infected person was associated with the additional potential instances discovered through wastewater tests.
Experts recommended everyone to get a polio vaccination during the outbreak. Health officials advised taking precautions because New Yorkers who live, work, attend school, or frequently visit Rockland County are most at risk of exposure.
Given the poor vaccination rates for this crippling disease in some regions of our County, it is alarming that polio, a disease that has been mostly eradicated by vaccination, is suddenly present in our neighbourhood. I advise all unvaccinated Orange County citizens to get immunised as soon as it is medically possible, according to Dr. Irina Gelman, the county’s health commissioner.
The polio vaccination that is offered in the country has a high percentage of effectiveness against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Three doses are 99 percent to 100 percent effective against the poliovirus, while two doses are 90 percent or more effective. 93 percent of two-year-olds in the U.S. have received three doses of the polio vaccine, according to the most recent data on childhood immunisation.