New York state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said a polio case detected in Rockland County could be the “tip of the iceberg” and that hundreds of other individuals could be infected with the virus.
“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,” Bassett warned in a Thursday statement. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today.
“We must meet this moment by ensuring that adults, including pregnant people, and young children by 2 months of age are up to date with their immunization – the safe protection against this debilitating virus that every New Yorker needs,” Bassett added.
The public health official’s remarks come after a case of polio was confirmed in Rockland County–the first case in the U.S. since 2013.
NBC News notes: “Polio was detected in the county’s wastewater before the patient’s case was confirmed, officials have said. On Thursday, officials revealed that the virus had also been detected in wastewater samples in Orange County.”