CDC expands polio wastewater testing to more states

The CDC is expanding wastewater testing for polio in certain areas of the country to determine whether the virus is circulating outside of New York, where an unvaccinated person in Rockland County contracted a case of paralytic polio this summer. 

In a Nov. 30 statement, the agency said it plans to "strategically expand wastewater testing" for polio, based on U.S. counties with low vaccination rates or those with possible connections to communities in New York where polio has been detected. The expanded efforts will begin in Oakland County, Mich., and an unnamed county in Philadelphia, according to ABC News. 

Testing will last at least four months once initiated in a new county, the CDC said. Findings will ultimately help jurisdictions pinpoint where to prioritize vaccination efforts. 

"Wastewater testing can be an important tool to help us understand if poliovirus may be circulating in communities in certain circumstances," said José Romero, MD, director of the CDC's national center for immunization and respiratory diseases. "Vaccination remains the best way to prevent another case of paralytic polio, and it is critically important that people get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their communities against this devastating disease." 

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