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NY Department of Health provides update on polio

NYSDOH said the case identified in the state shows the importance of vaccinations.
Credit: AP
This 2014 illustration made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a polio virus particle. On Thursday, July 21, 2022, New York health officials reported a polio case, the first in the U.S. in nearly a decade. (Sarah Poser, Meredith Boyter Newlove/CDC via AP)

NEW YORK — Following the identification of a polio case in New York State last month, the state department of health provided an update on Monday for New Yorkers. 

One case was identified in a Rockland County resident, which has launched a wastewater surveillance effort to check for signs of the virus.

“Polio is a dangerous disease with potentially devastating consequences,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “In the United States, we are so fortunate to have available the crucial protection offered through polio vaccination, which has safeguarded our country and New Yorkers for over 60 years. 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.”

NYSDOH is urging all New Yorkers to check their vaccination status. Unvaccinated children 2 months and older, those who are pregnant, and people who have not completed the polio vaccine series are advised to get vaccinated right away.

Polio is a serious and life-threatening disease that is very contagious. People who get the virus may not show symptoms immediately and can still spread it while asymptomatic. Polio can cause paralysis or death. 

A polio vaccine is required by NYSDOH for all school-aged children.

People who are already vaccinated are considered low risk. Unvaccinated people who live, work or have traveled to Rockland County are at the highest risk of exposure. 

The Rockland County vaccination rate for polio is 60.5%, which is below the national average of 79.1%.

There is no treatment or cure for polio. 

More information about polio and the polio vaccine are available on the NYSDOH website.

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