Polio detected in New York City's wastewater

Health officials investigating a polio case have detected the virus in wastewater in New York City, suggesting "likely" local circulation of the virus, the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Aug. 12.

"For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected," said Mary Bassett, MD, the state's health commissioner. "The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Health Department  —  working with local and federal partners  —  is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread."

The state and city health departments are urging those unvaccinated for the virus, 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. Both departments will  continue wastewater surveillance with the CDC.

The first case in the U.S. in nearly a decade was reported July 21. State health officials said Aug. 1 that the virus had been detected in wastewater samples collected in June, and suggested it was present before the case was reported. The CDC sent a team to assist the state's health department with its investigation of the case Aug. 9. 

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