Polio Virus Detected in Wastewater in New York, Guv Declares Disaster Emergency
Officials have urged unvaccinated adults and minors as young as two months old to get inoculated against the virus.
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New York Governer Kathy Hochul declared a disaster emergency on Friday, 9 September, after the polio virus was detected in wastewater samples from four counties – Nassau, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan.
In July this year, the first case of polio in United States in almost a decade was reported in Rockland County, according to the state health department.
While there is no cure for the disease, completing all doses of vaccines provides up to 100% immunity. With robust vaccination beginning in 1955, United States was declared polio-free in 1979.
But according to New York officials, vaccination rates are too low in parts of the state. Friday's emergency declaration is aimed at boosting flagging immunisation rates, .
The state aims to improve vaccination rates from 79 percent to above 90 percent, as reported by BBC.
"On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice," Health Commissioner Dr Mary Bassett said in a statement. "If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real."
Officials urged unvaccinated adults and minors as young as two months old to get inoculated against the virus, and advised that vaccinated people receive a lifetime booster dose.
A Reuters report says that Hochul's declaration authorizes paramedics, midwives and pharmacists to administer polio vaccinations, among other steps, to accelerate inoculation rates. The order also directs health-care providers to update the state with data on immunisations.
(With inputs from BBC and Reuters)
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Topics: New York New York City Polio
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