Skyline of Lower Manhattan and New York City. — © AFP
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday after sewage tests found evidence of the spread of the polio virus.
The move will allow healthcare workers to be better equipped to contain the spread of the sometimes disabling virus.
The order allows emergency workers, midwives and pharmacists to administer the polio vaccine. The newspaper “New York Times. The declaration also requires health care providers to send polio immunization data to New York City health officials so they can determine where in the state to direct vaccination efforts.
“With polio, we just can’t roll the dice,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state health commissioner, said Friday. “Don’t delay getting vaccinated.” She added that “for every observed case of paralytic polio, there could be hundreds of others infected.”
Health officials say wastewater samples New York and four neighboring counties, including Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Nassau, have tested positive for polio, which can cause paralysis.
Polio virus and vaccines
first case of polio in almost a decade was identified in July in New York State. Officials said an unvaccinated man in Rockland County contracted the virus, which was transmitted from a person who received the infection. oral polio vaccine, which has not been used in the United States since 2000.
Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was developed in 1955 by Dr. Jonas Salk. Also called the Salk vaccine, IPV consists of inactivated (killed) strains of the poliovirus. all three types of poliovirus. IPV is administered intramuscularly or intradermally and must be administered by a trained healthcare professional.
Oral polio vaccine It is a safe and effective vaccine containing a combination of one, two or three strains of live attenuated poliovirus given as oral drops.
OPV has been instrumental in eradicating wild poliovirus worldwide, including in the United States, as it stops the spread of the virus by inducing immunity in the gut.
However, the oral polio vaccine contains a small amount of attenuated live virus that can circulate and mutate in communities where there are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people.
A strain of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is being developed that is related to the attenuated live poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV). This strain can continue to change and can infect an unvaccinated person.
The CDC reports that three cases of VDPV have been identified in the United States since 2000, all associated with viruses in people who have not been vaccinated against polio or have weakened immune systems. The Rockland County case is the fourth in history.