New York declares state of emergency over polio to boost low vaccination rates

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency over polio to boost vaccination rates in the state amid further evidence that the virus is spreading in communities.

Poliovirus has now been detected in sewage samples from four counties in the New York metro area as well as in the city itself. The counties are Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and the latest, Nassau.

The samples tested positive for poliovirus that can cause paralysis in humans, according to state health officials. Unvaccinated individuals who live, work, go to school or visit Orange, Rockland, Nassau, New York City and Sullivan are at the highest risk of paralytic disease, officials said.

New York began wastewater surveillance after an unvaccinated adult caught polio in Rockland County in July and suffered from paralysis, the first known infection in the U.S. in nearly a decade.

The emergency declaration will expand the network of vaccine administrators to include pharmacists, midwives and EMS workers in an effort to boost the immunization rate in areas where it has slipped.

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