ARS TECHNICA – New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a “state disaster emergency” Friday after poliovirus was detected in wastewater from four counties (Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and now Nassau), indicating that the dangerous virus continues to spread, potentially in areas with abysmal vaccination rates.
Today’s emergency declaration aims to boost access to polio vaccines in the state, allowing more types of health care providers to authorize and administer polio vaccines.
It also makes it a requirement for health care providers to report vaccination data to the state, allowing health officials to better identify vulnerable areas.
The emergency stretches back to July when officials reported paralytic polio in an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County whose symptoms began in June.
As of September 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected poliovirus in 57 wastewater samples from four counties plus New York City, with the earliest detection in April from Orange County.
Despite public awareness and vaccination campaigns, transmission appears to be going strong.
Of those 57 positive samples, 27 were detected in August. And 50 of the 57 positive samples are directly genetically linked to the paralytic polio case in Rockland.
Those 50 genetically linked samples include the newest county to detect poliovirus, Nassau, which had one positive wastewater sample last month.
Vaccination rates in the affected counties are troubling …