State of emergency declared for polio in New York

A state of emergency has been declared for polio (polio) in New York State. The virus, which causes a life-threatening disease, was found in wastewater in another county, AP reported, cited by BTA.

The measure allows emergency medical workers, midwives and pharmacists to carry out 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.

According to health officials, the sample was genetically linked to the Rockland polio case. Experts say it provides more evidence of a growing spread of the virus in the region after its presence 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.

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