Polio Is Back In Rockland Wastewater. Meaning Of The Term
(CTN News) – The polio virus was detected in wastewater collected from Rockland’s sewer system in February. It’s the first Rockland sample to test positive since October.
An Orange County wastewater test in December 2022 found the virus after five weeks.
In July 2022, polio paralyzed a 20-year-old Rockland County man. In decades, the disease had not been transmitted in the United States. Vaccinations against the disease were not available to him.
As polio detection slowed during the winter, state and county health officials urged caution. An enterovirus like typically strikes during a particular season. A spike in paralytic frequently occurred in August before polio vaccinations were developed.
Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County Health Commissioner, said that worldwide travel and low vaccination rates could result in returning to the county this year.
It spreads rapidly, often asymptomatically
Considering the upcoming school and holiday breaks, the circulation in places such as Israel and England, and the desire to travel after the pandemic, health officials are concerned. Several children were asymptomatic but tested positive for the virus in northern Israel. A paralyzed 8-year-old was among the unvaccinated.
It is stealthy and deadly: 99% of those who contract polio never know they have it; others can become paralyzed or die from it.
Here’s what to do
Officials recommend four vaccine doses: two months, four months, six to eighteen months, and four to six years old.
Vaccinations can be arranged at doctor’s offices, clinics, and local health departments.
The polio vaccination rate for children 2 and under in Rockland and Orange counties is among the lowest in the state. Almost three-quarters of the polio vaccine doses have been administered to children under the age of 4 in Rockland County since the local case was detected this month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend one-time boosters for vaccinated people at high risk. The list includes sewer workers, medical workers, and lab technicians in -endemic areas.
Please contact your local health department for information on boosters. The Rockland County Public Health Department will conduct walk-in polio booster clinics Friday, April 14 and Sunday, April 28.
“Polio can be prevented through a complete vaccination series. We hope not to see another case of paralytic like last summer,” Ruppert said. “I urge all who are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated to get vaccinated.”
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