Health authorities in New York are reportedly concerned about a fresh polio outbreak which is the most recent event in a spate of infectious diseases, that have completely shaken the state.
It is believed that polio was eliminated from the United States in 1979 as a result of high vaccination rates. However, a state of emergency has been proclaimed after the disease was found in wastewater samples of several counties, where one individual has suffered an irreversible paralysis.
It is worth mentioning here that the unidentified person, who was not vaccinated, is believed to be among hundreds of New Yorkers who have contracted the virus, given that paralysis affects only one in 200 people in the country.
Health commissioner, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, of Rockland county from where the person belongs, stated that this was the tip of the iceberg, and there are possibly hundred more of such cases.
A single case of paralytic polio is actually an outbreak because if someone gets paralytic polio, it indicates the existence of more infected people, explained Emily Lutterloh, director of epidemiology at Wadsworth Centre, the lab that discovered the case.
Notably, in New York State, 79% of children have had polio vaccinations. In some zip codes, there are only 37.2% of the population that has received vaccinations which was quite disturbing, Dr. Ruppert added.
She also stated that as a result of the samples, an all-hands-on-deck effort has been launched, with the New York State agency and the Centers for Disease Control stepping up their surveillance efforts.