Health officials say the poliovirus is “probably” spreading through the five boroughs after traces were found in the city’s sewage.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real, but the defense is so simple – get the polio shot,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a statement. press Friday.
The virus has also been detected in Orange and Rockland counties north of New York in recent weeks.
An unvaccinated Rockland man has been paralyzed after catching the first known case of the disease in the United States since 2013.
“For every case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may go undetected,” state health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in the news release.
The disease was largely eliminated worldwide after an oral vaccine became widely available in the 1960s, but the super-contagious virus survived in some pockets of the world.
A total of 86.2% of children aged six months to five years have been vaccinated against the disease, according to city health statistics that show Williamsburg, Battery Park City and parts of Bed-Stuy as the only areas in the city. city with rates below 60%.
“The detection of poliovirus in sewage samples in New York is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Department of Health — together with local and federal partners — is responding urgently, continuing to investigate cases, and aggressively assessing the spread,” Bassett said in the press release. .
— Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks.
New York Post