New York issued an emergency declaration this week due to fears of poliovirus spreading in the state, although only one case of the dreaded disease has been detected so far in recent months.
State Governor Kathy Hochul “issued an Executive Order declaring a State Disaster Emergency on Friday, increasing the amount of resources available to protect New Yorkers against paralytic disease,” the state health department said in a news release.
The state said that after the one confirmed case in Rockland County over the summer, a sewage surveillance program was launched in order to “check for signs of the virus in sewage water in communities.”
The initiative “has found poliovirus in samples collected in Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County, New York City and, now, Nassau County,” the health department said.
“The sample collected in August in Nassau County has been genetically linked to the paralytic polio case previously identified in Rockland County, further evidence of the spread in the community,” the department added.
State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett urged New Yorkers to get vaccinated against polio if they have not already done so.
“Don’t wait to get vaccinated,” Bassett said. “If you are unsure of your or your family’s vaccination status, contact a health care provider, clinic, or your local county health department to make sure you and your loved ones receive all recommended doses.”