The Chicago Division of Public Wellness stated the city’s wastewater monitoring system will expand to start testing for poliovirus, with samples collected from reclamation facilities serving Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
While no situations of polio have been identified in Chicago or Illinois at this time, city wellness officials stated the expansion is a proactive measure to enhance capacity to detect and respond to situations of the virus.
The preventive measure is probably in response to the discovery of polio in New York city sewage samples in July 2022.
Additional testing of the wastewater showed that the virus was present in numerous counties with low polio vaccination prices, indicating that polio almost certainly circulated amongst neighborhood communities.
Whilst city wellness officials stated wastewater testing can’t reveal who is infected or how several persons are infected, it can aid other information and surveillance strategies employed to stop the spread of the virus.
Officials later added that any detection of poliovirus would not be trigger for concern.
“Even so, if certain strains of poliovirus are identified in communities that have low vaccination prices, it can spread amongst unvaccinated folks, placing them at threat of becoming infected and establishing polio.” “Everyone who is unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated is at threat of establishing paralysis if infected with poliovirus,” the Chicago Division of Wellness stated in a statement.
CDPH Deputy Commissioner Massimo Pacilli stated that though polio was eradicated in the US in 1979, final year’s discovery in New York underscores the significance of prompt detection to cease prospective future outbreaks.
Polio can lead to permanent paralysis of the limbs and is potentially fatal due to paralysis of the muscle tissues employed for breathing or swallowing.
According to Chicago wellness officials, most persons infected with the virus will not have any symptoms, though some will have flu-like symptoms.
1 in 25 persons who contract polio will create meningitis, though a single in 200 will be paralyzed, Chicago wellness officials stated in a statement.
City wellness officials reiterated that the threat of contracting polio in the U.S. is particularly low mainly because most persons are vaccinated against the virus in childhood, giving protection against severe ailments, like paralytic polio.
Analysis suggests that persons who are vaccinated against poliovirus as youngsters are probably to be protected as adults, Chicago wellness officials stated.