New York Declares State Disaster Emergency As Poliovirus Detected In Wastewater

New York Declares State Disaster Emergency As Poliovirus Detected In Wastewater

New York Governor Kathy Hochul Friday declared a state disaster emergency after poliovirus samples were found in wastewater in three counties outside of New York City. The state of emergency will remain in effect until October 9 this year, news agency Reuters reported.

The executive order came more than a month after the US recorded the first confirmed case of polio in nearly a decade. In July this year, an adult in Rockland County, north of NYC, was diagnosed with polio.

With this declaration, the NYC health authorities will now increase the number of people authorised to administer polio vaccines, besides taking other steps to accelerate inoculation, the Reuters report said. 

The wastewater samples in which the poliovirus was present were collected back in April, according to Hochul’s executive order.

Wastewater samples have been collected from Orange, Rockland and Sullivan counties every month since April, which indicated the virus was present in the state before the Rockland case was detected in July, the report said.

People Urged To Get Vaccinated Against Polio

Ever since the police case was detected, New York officials have been urging unvaccinated residents to get their polio shots immediately. 

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all,” CNBC quoted New York Health Commissioner Dr Mary Bassett as saying. She said those who are not sure of their vaccination status should contact a healthcare provider or clinic. 

“Polio immunization is safe and effective — protecting nearly all people against disease who receive the recommended doses.”

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), polio mainly affects children aged 5 years and below, though people of all ages are under threat.

It can cause irreversible paralysis in one in 200 cases. WHO says 5-10% among those paralysed die as their breathing muscles become immobilised.

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