Polio was present in wastewater in a New York City suburb a month before officials announced the first confirmed US case in nearly a decade

Polio detected in New York sewage, prompting urgent warnings to get vaccinated

State health officials said the virus had been found in wastewater samples collected in June, meaning the disease was present in the community before the diagnosis was made public on July 21. A Rockland County young adult developed paralysis and was diagnosed last month, becoming the first polio case detected in the US since 2013. Authorities urged residents to be sure they had been vaccinated. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement the presence of the virus in wastewater indicated there might be more people in the community shedding the virus in their excrement. However the CDC added there had been no new cases identified, and that it was not yet clear whether the virus was actively spreading in New York or elsewhere in the US. Laboratory tests also confirmed the strain in the case was genetically linked to one found in Israel, although that did not mean the patient had travelled to Israel,

Genetic sequencing also tied it to samples of the highly contagious and life-threatening virus in the UK. The patient started showing symptoms in June, when local officials asked doctors to be on the lookout for cases, according to the New York Times. “Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent, and guardian to get themselves and their children vaccinated as soon as possible,” state health commissioner Mary Bassett said. The New York State Department of Health said, based on available evidence, it was not able to conclude for certain whether the positive polio samples stemmed from the case identified in Rockland County. “Certainly, when samples such as these are identified, it raises concerns about the potential of community spread — which is why it is critically important that anyone who is unvaccinated, particularly in the Rockland County area, gets vaccinated as soon as possible,” the department said.

Polio is a virus that may cause paralysis and is transmitted through contaminated water, food or hands which have come into contact with the faecal matter or throat secretions of an infected person. The virus is often asymptomatic and people can transmit the virus even when they do not appear sick.There is no cure and it can cause irreversible paralysis in some cases, but it can be prevented by a vaccine made available in 1955. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the United States since 2000, according to the CDC. It is given by a needle in the leg or arm, depending on the patient’s age.

Source: This news is originally published by abc.net.au

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