According to health officials, “for every case of paralytic polio observed, hundreds of other people may be infected.”
After polio virus samples were discovered in wastewater in three counties outside of New York City, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency. The state of emergency will remain in place until October 9th.
Details: New York declares a disaster emergency as polio spreads
The sample was genetically linked to the case of paralytic polio discovered earlier this summer in Rockland County, just north of New York City — the first in the country in nearly a decade.
The virus has also been found in wastewater samples from Orange and Sullivan counties, as well as New York City. According to the state Department of Health, all of the reported samples contain types of poliovirus that can cause paralysis.
Health officials stated that “for every case of paralytic polio observed, hundreds of other people may be infected,” but the state has only confirmed one case so far.
Following the discovery of the disease, New York officials began urging unvaccinated residents to take polio vacations. While all ages are at risk, the virus primarily affects children aged three and under.
Polio can cause irreversible paralysis in some cases, but it is preventable thanks to a vaccine that was first made available in 1955. There is no known treatment. Three vaccine injections provide nearly 100 percent immunity.
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The executive order states
Hochul’s emergency order expands the network of providers who can administer polio vaccines immediately to include emergency medical workers, midwives, and pharmacists. It also allows physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient specific polio vaccine standing orders.
The order also requires health providers to send polio immunisation data to the state Department of Health, which allows state and local health officials to focus vaccination efforts in high-need areas, according to the DOH.
The state of emergency will end on October 9. It follows emergency declarations issued by Hochul in response to the state’s monkeypox outbreak and the Covid-19 pandemic.
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