Senior health official: New York treats polio case as “tip of the iceberg”

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The New York health commissioner said Thursday that the state is treating its single case of polio – the first patient known to have been infected with the virus in the United States in nearly a decade – as “just the tip of the iceberg” .

“Based on previous polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every case of paralytic polio observed, there could be hundreds of more infected people,” said state health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement.

“Along with the latest findings on wastewater, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of a much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today. We must face this moment by making sure that adults, including pregnant people, and infants as young as 2 months of age are up to date with their immunization: the sure protection against this debilitating virus that every New Yorker needs. “, he has declared.

The State Department of Health said that following the identification of polio in Rockland County, the virus was also detected in wastewater samples from Orange County and Rockland County.

NY POLIO GROWING FEAR WITH POSSIBLE “COMMUNITY SPREAD” OF THE DANGEROUS VIRUS

This 1964 microscope image made available by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the damage caused by the polio virus to human spinal cord tissue.

This 1964 microscope image made available by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the damage caused by the polio virus to human spinal cord tissue.
(Dr. Karp / Emory University / CDC via AP)

Officials found seven positive samples from Rockland County and Orange County that are genetically linked to the single previously identified case of paralytic poliomyelitis.

“These findings provide further evidence for the local, not international, transmission of a polio virus that can cause paralysis and potential spread in the community, underscoring the urgency for every New York adult and child to be immunized, particularly those in the large New York metropolitan area, “the department wrote.

Investigations into the origin of the virus are ongoing.

This 2014 illustration made available by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a particle of the polio virus.  Thursday 21st July 2022.

This 2014 illustration made available by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a particle of the polio virus. Thursday 21st July 2022.
(Sarah Poser, Meredith Boyter Newlove / CDC via AP)

NEW YORK COUNTY OFFICER URGES RESIDENTS TO BE VACCINATED AFTER FIRST CASE OF POLIO IN YEARS

All unvaccinated New Yorkers should get vaccinated immediately, with residents of those counties and the greater New York metropolitan area at the highest risk of exposure.

FILE - Parents and children wait in long lines outside a Syracuse school to receive Sabin oral polio vaccine on August 29, 1961.

FILE – Parents and children wait in long lines outside a Syracuse school to receive Sabin oral polio vaccine on August 29, 1961.
(Photo AP, File)

Although there is no cure for polio, it is preventable through immunization.

Polio is very contagious and an individual can pass on the virus even if they are not sick.

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Symptoms can take up to 30 days to appear, and some cases can cause paralysis or death.