Share this @internewscast.com
Health officials say the poliovirus is “likely” spreading in the five boroughs after traces were found in city wastewater.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a press release Friday.
The virus has also been detected in Orange and Rockland counties north of New York City in recent weeks.
A Rockland man, who was unvaccinated, experienced paralysis after catching the first known case of the disease in the United States since 2013.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in the press release.
The disease was largely eliminated worldwide after an oral vaccine became widely available in the 1960s, but the super-contagious virus has survived in certain pockets of the world.
A total of 86.2% of children ages six months to five years have gotten vaccinated for the disease, according to city health stats that show Williamsburg, Battery Park City and parts of Bed-Stuy as the only areas of the city with rates below 60%.
“The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Health Department – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread,” Bassett said in the press release.
— Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks.