New York health officials are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against polio after the state recently became the first in the U.S. in roughly a decade to report a confirmed case.
The case was reported July 21, in a male resident of Rockland County, about 30 miles north of New York City. However, official later revealed they'd detected the virus about a month earlier in wastewater sampling – a process that helps health officials get an early indication of the presence of communicable diseases.
The Rockland patient who contacted the disease and was paralyzed after his symptoms began a month ago, but he is no longer contagious.
The strain found in the samples traces back to London and Jerusalem. Health officials do not know how it has appeared in New York.
“We are so fortunate to have available the crucial protection offered through polio vaccination,” said State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. “Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent, and guardian to get themselves and their children vaccinated.”
Polio is a life-threatening disease that can result in paralysis and death. It is contracted by consuming contaminated water or food, or contact with an infected person. There is no treatment for the disease but it is completely preventable by vaccination.