Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Polio Virus Found in Orange County Wastewater Samples

The polio virus has been found in wastewater samples taken in Orange County, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Two wastewater samples were taken in June and July in two geographically different locations in Orange County. These wastewater samples were initially collected from municipal wastewater treatment plants across the county for the purposes of COVID-19 testing. The New York State Department of Health notified the Orange County Department of Health that the polio virus was identified in these samples, it was announced today.

There have been no confirmed cases of polio infection identified in Orange County as of yet. However, the virus is confirmed to be circulating in the community based on the wastewater analysis reports, according to health officials. Those who are unvaccinated run the risk of becoming infected.

On July 21, 2022, the State Department of Health reported an active polio case in neighboring Rockland County (story here). This was the first polio case in the United States since 1979. The person infected is a member of the Orthodox community. The infection caused controversy when State Senator James Skoufis called on state officials to bring down the full force of the law on yeshivas not complying with the state’s vaccination laws (story here). Skoufis’ comments drew backlash when State Assemblyman Colin Schmitt accused him of being anti-Semitic (story here).

Symptoms to watch for with the polio virus include sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, and stomach pain. Orange County residents who are experiencing symptoms or who believe they were exposed should contact their healthcare provider for a test.

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