After the health authorities of New York (NY), in the United States, found “evidence of circulating poliomyelitis”, this Friday Governor Kathy Hochul declared a State of emergency due to disaster.
Through a statement, it was reported that the virus was detected after routine testing of wastewater from the towns of Manhasset, Glenwood Landing, Port Washington and Roslyn, all of them in Nassau County.
Additionally, it was previously found in sewage collected in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan counties, as well as NYC.
And it is that the strains recovered in these sites are genetically linked to the only case of polio identified in the state: a resident of Rockland.
In this regard, Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County Executive, assured this September 9 at a press conference that he has no registered case of the disease.
“I don’t want to alarm anyone, no cases of polio have been discovered here in this region or in Nassau County.”
What is it and what are the symptoms?
According to the NY Department of Health, polio is a potentially serious disease. A virus that can affect the nervous system and cause muscle weakness, and in some cases can lead to paralysis or death.
What is alarming is that it is highly contagious and a person can spread the virus even if they are not sick or experiencing symptoms.
Polio enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Respiratory and mouth-to-mouth transmission through saliva can also occur.
Symptoms, which can be mild and flu-like (fatigue, fever, headache, stiffness, muscle pain, vomiting), can take up to 30 days to appear, during which time an infected person can spread the virus to other people.
More serious symptoms include paralysis, permanent disability or post-polio syndrome, and even death.
Although there is no cure for polio, it can be prevented through safe and effective vaccination.
For this reason, Kathy Hochul urged through her Twitter account all New Yorkers who are not vaccinated, including children older than 2 months, pregnant people and people who have not previously completed their series of polio vaccines, to inoculate immediately, as the best way to keep free from the virus is to maintain high immunity throughout the population.
“We’re making it easier for New Yorkers to get the polio vaccine if they haven’t already received it. @HealthNYGov is ramping up its vaccination efforts and EMTs, midwives, and pharmacists can now provide the vaccine.”
It is worth mentioning that all affected counties have low rates of polio vaccination among children under two years of age:
-Rockland County has a polio vaccination rate of 60.34 percent.
-Orange County has a polio vaccination rate of 58.68 percent.
-Sullivan County has a polio vaccination rate of 62.33 percent.
-Nassau County has a polio vaccination rate of 79.15 percent, compared to the statewide average of 78.96 percent.