State disaster emergency on polio virus declared in New York

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency on polio virus and urged vaccination against it. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all,” the Governor said.The first case of polio in the United States in nearly a decade was identified in July in Rockland County and since expanding community spread was proved. The poliovirus was detected in wastewater in New York City and three counties to its north: Rockland, Orange and Sullivan. The virus is now circulating in Nassau County.

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Health officials said all unvaccinated New York residents , including children by 2 months of age, pregnant people and those who haven’t completed their vaccine series, should get immunized immediately. The statewide polio vaccination rate is 79%. Polio is an enteric virus, meaning it lives in the gut and typically spreads when infected fecal matter enters another person’s mouth. Most people infected with polio have no symptoms but can still give the virus to others for days or weeks. The inactivated polio vaccine, the only version in use in the United States, is shown to protect 99% of people from symptoms and paralysis caused by the virus.