“We are dealing with a trifecta. Covid is still very much here. Polio, we have identified polio in our sewage. And we’re still dealing with the monkey pox crisis,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said Friday on CNN’s New Day. “We’re addressing the threats as they come before us and we’re prepared to deal with them and with the assistance of Washington, DC.”
In a statement about the wastewater finding, New York officials underscored the urgency of staying up to date with polio immunizations, particularly for those in the greater New York metro area.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising.”
Paralysis can lead to a permanent disability and death, since it can affect the muscles used to breathe.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said that 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.”
CDC investigating polio in New York
The wastewater finding comes after the identification of a case of paralytic polio in a Rockland County, New York, resident on July 21 and the detection in wastewater samples in May, June and July from Rockland and Orange counties.
The agency sent a team of disease detectives to Rockland County last week to investigate the case and assist with vaccination. A community health leader who has met with the team told CNN that the investigators are “quite nervous” that polio “could mushroom out of control very quickly and we could have a crisis on our hands.”
The last case in the US was reported nearly a decade ago.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple: Get vaccinated against polio,” said Vasan, the city health commissioner. “Polio is entirely preventable, and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”
CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen, Danielle Herman and John Bonifield contributed to this report.File source