Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will begin poliovirus testing in chosen places around the country, perhaps including Michigan and Pennsylvania. As per UPI, the testing will take place in communities with low polio vaccination rates or with suspected ties to New York populations associated to a recent incidence of paralytic polio in Rockland County, New York.
Dr. José Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news release that wastewater testing could be an important tool for determining whether poliovirus is circulating in communities under certain conditions.
People must be vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, and their communities against this debilitating disease. Vaccination is the greatest approach to avoid another case of paralytic polio, and it is vital that people get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.
Both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) are among the first agencies to investigate strategies for collecting wastewater samples for analysis by the CDC’s polio laboratory. Additionally, the CDC has initiated negotiations with state and local health departments.
MDHHS and PDPH are partnering with the CDC to identify populations with wastewater sampling locations that are under-vaccinated for poliovirus. Although testing is not advised frequently or widely and includes stringent laboratory criteria, strategic testing may assist detect whether poliovirus is present in other regions of the country.
According to the CDC, this information might be used to target vaccine efforts and swiftly enhance vaccination coverage, if necessary. The collection will not reveal who is affected or how many individuals or homes are infected, only that someone in the community is shedding the virus. It can aid in the investigation of suspected instances of polio.
Even in the absence of symptoms, poliovirus strains can be shed in a person’s feces. This is a risk for unvaccinated individuals, but the risk to the general public is negligible because 92% of Americans had polio immunizations as children, according to the CDC.
Other variables, like access to clean drinking water, modern sewage systems, and wastewater management, aid in preventing the spread of poliovirus. Improving vaccine coverage, prompt case reporting, and national surveillance are the keys to preventing further instances of paralytic polio, according to the CDC.