New York officials are warning that hundreds of Empire state residents may already be infected with the devastating polio virus after it was detected in wastewater of a second county in the state.
State surveillance detected presence of the polio virus in at least two different areas of Orange County, New York – around an hours drive from New York City – in June and July. It comes within weeks of officials announcing a confirmed polio case in Rockland County – just northwest of the Big Apple’s Bronx borough. The virus was also detected in Rockland wastewater last month.
The likelihood of these spreading is low but not impossible. Because of advanced water treatment in America, it is rare a person ends up drinking truly contaminated tap water. It is possible that fecal matter could end up on a surface a person interacts with, though, and ends up transmitting the virus.
Because polio is either mild or asymptomatic in a majority of cases, it is likely that the detection of one symptomatic case means there could be hundreds of others that will never be detected. Finding the virus in wastewater samples in multiple counties confirms fears that the virus has been spreading in the state for sometime before the Rockland case was detected.
A vaccinated person has little to worry about, and the U.S. has vaccine coverage of over 90 percent. Many had to receive the jabs to go to primary school. Inoculation lasts for life and there is no booster required for a person to stay safe from the virus.
Officials are urging the population to get vaccinated to prevent a resurgence of the devastating virus. Orange and Rockland are both among the counties with the lowest vaccine coverage against the virus – at 59 and 60 percent respectively. A person who is already vaccinated is not believed to be at any risk.