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Poliovirus found in Sullivan County wastewater system

Aug 29, 2022 1:00 am

Lauren Stanforth is reporting for the Times Union health officials continue to urge those unvaccinated against polio to get immunized after the virus was found in a fourth municipal wastewater system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected poliovirus in four Sullivan County samples, two collected in July and two collected in August, the state Health Department said on August 26. The virus was genetically-linked to the same virus that infected a person in July in Rockland County, a patient who suffered paralysis. Poliovirus had already been found in Rockland and Orange County wastewater this summer, as well as in New York City. In a report earlier this month, the CDC said that poliovirus may have been circulating for up to a year in New York. “One New Yorker paralyzed by polio is already too many and I do not want to see another paralytic case,” state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “...Every New Yorker, parent, guardian, and pediatrician must do everything possible to ensure they, their children, and their patients are protected against this dangerous, debilitating disease through safe and effective vaccination.” The unvaccinated who live, work, attend school in or visit New York City, as well as Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties are at the highest risk. The state is not testing wastewater in all counties. The focus has been in the areas surrounding Rockland County, where the first case was reported. The efforts, however, will continue to expand, the state DOH said. Polio is very contagious and presents itself as asymptomatic in most cases. About 25 percent of those infected will experience mild or flu-like symptoms that many will attribute to some other illness. Patients experience paralysis and life-threatening symptoms in about one percent of cases. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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