New York Declares Emergency on Polio

Virus is detected in another county's wastewater
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2022 8:25 AM CDT
New York Declares Emergency on Polio
This illustration made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a polio virus particle.   (Sarah Poser, Meredith Boyter Newlove/CDC via AP, File)

New York state reported a rare case of polio back in July, and no active cases have since surfaced. However, the virus that causes the potentially fatal disease appears to be spreading nonetheless, prompting Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency, reports NBC News. Her move on Friday came after the virus turned up in wastewater in Nassau County on Long Island. Previously it was detected in wastewater in New York City, and in Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan counties, per CNN.

Hochul's emergency declaration means that EMS workers, midwives, and pharmacists will be able to administer polio vaccines, and it also requires health care providers to give immunization data to state health officials, per the AP. The state's overall vaccination rate on polio is about 80%, though it's lower in Rockland (where the active case was discovered), Orange, and Sullivan counties. “On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.” The warning comes as schools reopen for the new year. (Read more polio stories.)

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