New Yorkers Confronting COVID-19, Monkeypox, and Polio Outbreaks
Over the past few months, lower New York residents have been confronting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an expanding number of monkeypox virus infections, and, recently, poliovirus detections.
The good news is that these diseases can be prevented with U.S. FDA-approved vaccines.
"For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a related press release on August 12, 2022.
"The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City (NYC) is alarming but not surprising."
"With polio circulating in New York, it is urgent that all eligible children and adults are vaccinated."
Recent polio vaccination data indicates a significant number of people living in NY's Rockland and Orange Counties, as well as the five boroughs of NYC, are undervaccinated.
For example, NYC's overall polio vaccination rate was 86%, which is below the U.S CDC's national guidelines.
And in Brooklyn, the Williamsburg section was only 56% protected from polio as of June 30, 2022.
The most important way for children and adults to protect themselves from polio is to get vaccinated if they have not received all recommended polio vaccine doses, says NYC Health.
Most adults do not need the polio vaccine because they were already vaccinated as children.
However, New Yorkers who are not up-to-date with vaccination should speak to a healthcare provider about getting a one-time polio booster dose.
"The risk to New Yorkers is real, but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio," commented NY Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.
"With polio circulating in our communities, there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus."
"So if you're unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine."
"Polio is entirely preventable, and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us."
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus, says the U.S. CDC.
Poliovirus is very contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact. It lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines.
Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the USA since 2000.
IPV protects against severe disease caused by poliovirus in almost everyone who has received all the recommended doses.
The IPOL vaccine is an IPV and is indicated for active immunization of infants, children, and adults to prevent poliomyelitis caused by poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3, says the CDC.
And several FDA-approved combination vaccines include polio protection available.
Those without a provider can call 311 or 844-NYC-4NYC for help finding one in NYC.
Internationally, oral polio vaccines containing a weakened strain of the poliovirus are available.
As of August 14, 2022, neither the CDC nor the World Health Organization has issued a travel advisory regarding New York's polio risk.
But in the greater London area, the UK Health Services Agency has recently issued local alerts and launched a polio vaccination campaign to reach 900,000 children.
Earlier this year, Isreal launched a 'Two Drops' polio vaccination program that reached over two million children.
In addition to polio vaccinations, NYC is a national leader in offering the Jynneos vaccine to help prevent monkeypox virus infections.
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