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New York state health officials have found signs of more poliovirus cases in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people may have contracted the potentially severe virus.

Just two weeks ago, the New York Department of Health reported a nationwide first case of polio For nearly a decade, in Rockland County, north of New York City. officials said The case occurred in a previously healthy young adult who was unvaccinated and developed leg paralysis. Since then, three positive wastewater samples from Rockland County and four from neighboring Orange County have been identified with a genetic link to the first case, the health department said in a report. Press release On Thursday, it indicated that the polio virus was spreading in the local community. The most recent samples were collected from two sites in Orange County in June and one site in Rockland County in July.

“Based on early polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every observed case of paralytic polio, hundreds of people may be infected,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Combined with the latest wastewater survey results, the department sees a single case of polio as the tip of the iceberg of a larger potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the dangers of polio exist in new today’s York.”

The health department reiterated that it was still investigating the source of the virus and said it was unclear whether the Rockland County infection was linked to other cases.

The state health department said polio was “a serious and life-threatening disease.” It is highly contagious and can be spread by people who are not yet showing symptoms. Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection and may be mild or flu-like.Some infected people may paralysis or death.

Before Polio vaccine After its introduction in the 1950s, thousands of Americans died from polio outbreaks and tens of thousands, many of them children, were paralyzed. After a successful vaccination campaign, polio was officially declared eradicated in the United States in 1979.

Unvaccinated New Yorkers are encouraged to get vaccinated immediately, the health department said. Unvaccinated people who live, work or spend time in Rockland County, Orange County and the New York metropolitan area are most at risk.

Most school-aged children received four doses of polio vaccine, starting at 6 weeks to 2 months of age, followed by a dose at 4 months of age, a dose at 6 to 12 months of age, and a dose at 4 and 6 months of age. . According to the health department, about 60 percent of children in Rockland County received three polio vaccines by the age of two, as did about 59 percent of children in Orange County — both lower than the statewide figure of 79 percent.

According to the latest childhood vaccination data from the CDC, approximately 93 percent of 2-year-olds in the United States have received at least three doses of the polio vaccine.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated adults will receive three doses of the immunization, while those who are vaccinated but at high risk can receive a lifetime booster, according to the health department.

Health officials said the vaccine was 99 percent effective in children who received the full four-dose regimen.

Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina said, “It is concerning that polio, a disease that has been largely eradicated through vaccination, is now endemic in our community, especially considering Vaccination rates for this debilitating disease are low in some parts of our county,” Gelman said. “I urge all unvaccinated Orange County residents to get vaccinated as soon as medically feasible.”

Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Rupert issued a similar statement, calling for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated “immediately.”

Polio has rarely occurred in the United States since polio eradication was declared more than 40 years ago.The last reported case was brought by a traveler year 2013according to the Associated Press.

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