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Polio virus found in another New York county, officials say

New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett urged residents to make sure they're vaccinated against polio to be safe. The polio vaccine was first produced during the 1950s. File Photo by Marshall White/EPA
New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett urged residents to make sure they're vaccinated against polio to be safe. The polio vaccine was first produced during the 1950s. File Photo by Marshall White/EPA

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- New York health officials say they have detected the polio virus in wastewater samples in another county, just days after the virus was found in Rockland County.

The virus in Rockland County was discovered last month. It was the first time the polio virus was found anywhere in the United States in more than a decade.

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Earlier this week, officials in Orange County said they have also found it in wastewater samples from June and July.

"The New York State Department of Health informed the Orange County Department of Health that analysis from the CDC detected the polio virus" in two different regions, Health Department spokesperson Samantha Fuld said in a statement.

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"These environmental findings -- which further indicate potential community spread -- in addition to the paralytic polio case identified among a Rockland County resident, underscore the urgency of every New York adult and child getting immunized against polio, especially those in the greater New York metropolitan area."

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett urged residents to make sure they're vaccinated against polio to be safe. The polio vaccine was first produced during the 1950s.

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Most people who get polio don't see any symptoms, but in some cases it can result in paralysis and death.

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"Polio is a dangerous disease with potentially devastating consequences," Bassett said in a statement. "In the United States, we are so fortunate to have available the crucial protection offered through polio vaccination, which has safeguarded our country and New Yorkers for over 60 years."

Officials said that tests confirmed the samples had genetic links to two Sabin-like type 2 isolates from samples gathered in June. They said similar samples were found in Israel and Britain. The health department, however, emphasized that the findings should not imply the virus was spread to New York from those locations.

Upon the discovery of the virus in Rockland County last month, officials said it likely came from an individual who received an older form of the oral polio vaccine that hasn't been administered in the United States since 2000.

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