Top health official: New York treats polio case as ‘tip of the iceberg’

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New York’s health commissioner said Thursday the state is treating it single case of poliomyelitis – the first patient known to be infected with the virus in the United States in nearly a decade – as “just the tip of the iceberg”.

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

“Coupled with the latest discoveries on wastewater, the Department deals the only case of poliomyelitis like the tip of the iceberg of a much larger 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 ensuring that adults, including pregnant women, and young children 2 months old are up to date with their vaccinations – the safe protection against this debilitating virus that every New Yorker needs,” she said.

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

NY POLIO FEARS INCREASING WITH POSSIBLE ‘COMMUNITY SPREAD’ OF 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)

Authorities found seven positive samples from Rockland County and Orange County that are genetically linked to the previously identified individual paralytic polio case.

“These results provide further evidence of local – not international – transmission of a polio virus that can cause paralysis and potential community spread, underscoring the urgency for every adult and child in New York to get vaccinated, especially those in New York. the greater New York metropolitan area“, wrote the ministry.

The investigation into the origin of the virus is in progress.

This 2014 illustration made available by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a polio virus particle.  Thursday, July 21, 2022.

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

NEW YORK COUNTY OFFICIAL URGES RESIDENTS TO GET IMMUNIZED AFTER FIRST POLIO CASE IN YEARS

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

FILE - Parents and their children line up outside a Syracuse school to receive the Sabin oral polio vaccine on August 28.  29, 1961.

FILE – Parents and their children line up outside a Syracuse school to receive the Sabin oral polio vaccine on August 28. 29, 1961.
(AP Photo, File)

Although there is no cure for poliomyelitis, it can be prevented through vaccination.

Poliomyelitis is highly contagious and a person can transmit 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 lead to paralysis or death.