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Poliovirus found in sewage in Brooklyn and Queens, according to New York health officials


Polio virus particle, computer illustration.

Katerina Kong | Science Photo Library | Getty Images

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has extended a state of emergency declared in response to the poliovirus outbreak after positive sewage tests in Brooklyn and Queens.

Hochul said the state’s disaster emergency will remain in place until at least November 8 to support statewide efforts to increase vaccination rates against polio.

The New York State Department of Health said in a statement Tuesday that sewage samples that tested positive in Brooklyn and Queens were genetically linked to a virus that paralyzed unvaccinated adults in Rockland County over the summer. Stated.

The unvaccinated adult in Rockland County is the only known case of paralysis in the United States so far, but state health officials say hundreds of people may be asymptomatic and spreading the virus. It is said to be highly

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Bassan said in a joint statement: .

A total of 70 sewage samples in the New York City metropolitan area have so far tested positive for the poliovirus, according to New York State Health officials. The virus has been detected in sewage in Kings, Nassau, Orange, Queens, Rockland and Sullivan counties.

Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Nassau have received more than 28,000 doses of polio vaccine since July, according to state health officials.

Most people were vaccinated against polio as children and are not at risk, but for years New York has suffered from low vaccination rates in some communities.

In Rockland County, vaccination coverage for children under the age of 2 fell from 67% in 2020 to 60% in 2022. According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionIn some areas of Rockland, only 37% of children in this age group are vaccinated.

State, national and global health authorities are The poliovirus found in New York originated from a country We are still using the oral polio vaccine. Oral vaccines use live viruses that rarely mutate and cause illness.

The United States stopped using oral vaccines over 20 years ago. Currently, we administer inactivated vaccines containing dead viruses that cannot mutate. Inactivated vaccines are highly effective in preventing disease, but they cannot stop viral transmission.

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