“It is important to keep in mind that although Polio virus was detected in wastewater, it does not unequivocally mean that there is active disease circulating in the County,” Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said in a prepared statement.
The discoveries were announced the same week health officials said they detected the presence of the virus in wastewater samples from Rockland County, where officials last month announced the first case of polio in the United States in nearly a decade.
Gelman said people who receive a weakened live polio vaccine in another country and come to the United States shortly after can shed the polio virus for some time. The U.S. and many other countries use shots made with an inactivated version of the virus.
Polio, once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, was declared eliminated in the United States in 1979, more than two decades after vaccines became available.
The Orange County wastewater samples were initially collected from municipal wastewater treatment plants for COVID-19 testing.