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New York finds poliovirus samples in 5 counties, sparking state of emergency

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has declared a state of emergency in response to rising concerns over poliovirus. Hochul made the declaration on Friday after state health officials found virus samples in 5 counties — Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County, New York City, and most recently, Nassau County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found poliovirus samples in Nassau County through "sequence analysis of wastewater surveillance," CNN reports. 

Officials traced the sample from Nassau County back to a case pinpointed in Rockland County on Long Island. This sample has provided evidence to support the risk of potential community spread. All of the samples have been deemed "samples of concern" as they are types of poliovirus that put people at risk of paralysis. In response to the potential dangers of a polio outbreak, state health officials have released an executive order to increase the accessibility of resources to protect against possible infection. The order will include expanding the network of polio vaccine administrators, per CNN.

Additionally, Hochul's executive order will require health care providers to submit their polio immunization data to the state health department to help determine where vaccination efforts are most needed. 

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett warned the public about the risks of facing polio unvaccinated. Basset said, "If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real," as noted by Reuters.  

She urged the public not to wait to get vaccinated against polio.