Polio case may be 'tip of iceberg,' New York's top health official says

Polio has been detected in New York wastewater samples, potentially signaling further spread of the disease, with the state's top health official warning the single case may be the "tip of the iceberg," The New York Times reported Aug. 4. 

The samples were taken in June and July in two counties north of New York City. The state confirmed the first U.S. case of the disease in nearly a decade in an unvaccinated Rockland County, N.Y., man July 21. There was no indication that the infected man was the source found in the wastewater samples, and the investigation into the origin is ongoing.

"Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected," Mary Bassett, MD, the state’s health commissioner, stated Aug. 4.

Health officials are urging those unvaccinated for polio, including children by 2 months of age, those who are pregnant and those who have not previously completed their vaccine series to get vaccinated immediately.

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