Polio now spreading among NYC residents, officials say

Posted at 9:44 AM, Aug 12, 2022

New York City health officials said that the poliovirus has been detected in wastewater in the city, likely meaning that there is a community spread of the virus.

Health officials urged unvaccinated New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

"With polio circulating in our communities, there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you're an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine. Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us,” said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.

Officials in Rockland and Orange counties in New York also reported poliovirus in wastewater there in recent weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that most people infected with poliovirus, the virus that causes polio, do not experience symptoms. In severe cases of polio, it can cause permanent disability and death.

Nationally, 92% of children are fully vaccinated from polio by 24 months, the CDC said. The vaccine is considered 99% effective after three doses.

The CDC said that in the early 1950s, polio caused 13,000 to 20,000 paralytic cases a year. The development of vaccines in the mid-1950s dramatically reduced that number.

In 1960, there were 2,525 paralytic cases reported, and by 1965, just 61.

The CDC said that there has not been a single reported case of naturally spreading polio within the United States since 1979.