“Tip of the Iceberg!” Polio Virus Found in Wastewater in NY


We have a lot more serious problems to worry about than monkeypox. A return of polio is one. The first announced case of polio and the polio virus found in the wastewater of two counties set off alarm bells.

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state’s health commissioner, said in a statement.

“Coupled with the latest wastewater findings,” Dr. Bassett added, “the department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread.”

Polio is caused by the poliovirus, and children under 5 are most at risk of contracting it, but unvaccinated people are at risk. Polio is highly contagious, typically spreading from person to person when someone comes into contact with the feces of an infected person and then touches their mouth.

People vaccinated against polio are mostly protected, although not totally.

New York City recently announced its first case of polio since 2013. Most people are largely protected from it, but not all, almost all. It has lifelong implications for survivors. Post-polio syndrome is a horrific problem that hits prior victims to varying degrees. Some become wheelchair-bound.

So, where did this come from? This young person did not travel outside the country, but, just the same, we should consider the fact that we have massive waves of people coming unvetted and not medically screened.

We are now told by the NYC health chief this might be “the tip of the iceberg” [on the Biden Titanic].

With increased urgency, state officials called for residents to vaccinate against the disease. This came after it was found in a second county’s wastewater. Orange and Rockland are the two counties.

According to the CDC’s most recent childhood vaccination data, about 93% of 2-year-olds in the U.S. had received at least three doses of the polio vaccine.

Meanwhile, adults who are not vaccinated would receive a three-dose immunization. Those vaccinated but at high risk can receive a lifetime booster shot. That is according to the health department.

Around 72% of people infected with polio have no visible symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NBC News reports. Another 25% may develop flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, fatigue, fever, nausea, headache, or stomach pain. Those tend to resolve after a few days.

In some cases, rare cases, it can cause meningitis and irreversible paralysis.

“It’s a double-humped disease. It starts off with a minor illness, with cold-like symptoms, sore throat, things like that. Then the patient usually gets better for a day or so, and the paralysis sets in,” said Walter Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center.

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