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Polio tests in Kingston and New Paltz wastewater come back negative – Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, N.Y. — Two weeks of wastewater testing in Kingston and New Paltz for polio have come back negative, Ulster County officials said Saturday.

“The New York state Department of Health and the Federal Centers for Disease Control), at the request of the Ulster County Department of Health, tested two weeks of sample wastewater taken from Kingston and New Paltz, and the results came back negative for poliovirus,” Acting Ulster County Executive Johanna Contreras said in a press release.

Polio has been identified in wastewater samples in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan counties and also in New York City sewage and most recently in Nassau County, according to state health officials. The Rockland County case, announced on July 21, was the first in the U.S. in nearly a decade.

Contreras said poliovirus testing will continue to be a regular part of wastewater surveillance in Kingston and New Paltz.

“While the polio testing results for Ulster County are negative, it doesn’t mean that our community is immune from polio in the long term,” Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said in a news release.

Polio is a highly-contagious disease that was thought to have been controlled by a very safe, effective and proven vaccine that has been mandatory for all students attending public schools in New York state for decades, Smith noted.

Smith said the recent polio case in New York state, occurred in an unvaccinated person and communicable disease outbreaks generally occur in areas with below-average child vaccination rates.

“Getting all of your children vaccinated is the best and only way to protect them from this serious disease,” Smith said.

“I strongly encourage all residents who are not vaccinated for polio to call their doctor and get vaccinated without delay,” Contreras said.

State Health officials said the inactivated polio vaccine, the only available in the U.S. contains no live virus and protects 99 – 100 percent of people who get all recommended doses

State health officials advise all New Yorkers including children by two months of age, those who are pregnant and those who have not completed their polio vaccine series to get immunized.

Officials said unvaccinated individuals in these areas have the highest risks of contracting the paralytic disease.

Polio was once one of the nation’s most feared diseases, with annual outbreaks causing thousands of cases of paralysis. The disease mostly affects children.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

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