Health & Lifestyle

More polio found in New York City wastewater, health officials say

The New York State Department of Health has discovered more evidence of polio in NYC wastewater. 

Officials noted that 63 of 70 wastewater samples discovered last week were linked to a polio case of a 20-year-old male from Rockland County. The individual has since developed paralysis in his legs, according to the state health department. 

Most of the samples were found in Rockland. Still, officials also collected others all over the state, including Orange County, Sullivan County, and Nassau County, and one sample was found in Brooklyn. All the samples found in New York City were collected in August 2022. 

The majority of adults are protected from polio, according to state health officials, because many were completely vaccinated during their childhood. However, officials recommend that everyone stay up to date on their immunization. 


New York state health officials are encouraging more people to stay up to date on their Polio immunization. 

New York state health officials are encouraging more people to stay up to date on their Polio immunization. 
(ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

If an individual is unvaccinated for polio, the disease can lead to death in some cases or permanent paralysis in parts of the body such as the arms or legs or both. 

“These findings put an alarming exclamation point on what we have already observed: unvaccinated people are at a real and unnecessary risk,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan in a statement together. “We have seen more New Yorkers getting vaccinated.”

They added: “But these latest results are a searing reminder that there is no time to waste, especially for young children, who must be brought up to date with vaccinations right away. Paralysis changes life forever. Fortunately, the response is simple: get vaccinated against polio.”


New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s state of emergency over polio will remain in effect until November 8th as the campaign to get more people vaccinated for polio continues throughout the state. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the overall majority, 99%, of children who receive the polio vaccine are protected. 

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