Polio has been detected in New York City, the state Health Department said Friday, a jarring discovery based on wastewater samples that arrives three weeks after a case emerged in Rockland County.
Before the Rockland County case, the U.S. had gone about a decade without logging any polio cases. But the reported arrival of the paralyzing virus in New York City suggested community spread.
“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” Dr. Mary Bassett, the state health commissioner, said in a statement. “The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising.”
Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the city health commissioner, urged New Yorkers to respond to the news by getting jabbed with the long-administered polio vaccine.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple — get vaccinated against polio,” Vasan said in a statement. “Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”