New York Gov. Cathy Hockle said the state is ramping up efforts to fight polio after the virus that causes the life-threatening disease was found in sewage in yet another New York county, BTA reported, citing the Associated Press.
Hockle declared a polio emergency, allowing emergency medical workers, midwives, and pharmacists to administer vaccination against the disease, and doctors to issue permanent prescriptions for the vaccine. Immunization data will be used to target vaccination efforts where they are most needed.
Health officials began testing for traces of the poliovirus in wastewater after the first US case of polio in nearly 10 years was discovered in Rockland County in July. The latest case of the virus in sewage in the state was discovered after testing a sample taken last month in Nassau County.
Health officials say the sample is genetically linked to the Rockland polio case and provides more evidence that the virus is spreading in the region after it was found in sewage in New York City and also in Orange and Sullivan counties.
Health officials said all unvaccinated New Yorkers should get vaccinated immediately. They also called for booster doses for certain people such as health workers in affected areas treating patients who may have polio.
The statewide polio vaccination rate was 79 percent, but rates were lower in Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan counties.