The Chicago Public Health Department announced that it will expand the city’s wastewater monitoring program to begin testing for poliovirus. Samples are collected from remanufacturing plants servicing Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
Chicago and Illinois have no confirmed cases of polio at this time, but city health officials said the expansion was an aggressive step to increase their ability to detect and respond to cases of the virus. increase.
This precautionary measure appears to be in response to the July 2022 detection of polio in a New York City municipal wastewater sample.
Further wastewater testing indicated that the virus was present in several counties with low polio vaccination coverage, indicating that polio was likely prevalent in the community.
City health officials say wastewater testing cannot reveal who has been infected or how many have, but other data and monitoring methods used to prevent the spread of the virus. can support
Officials later added that not all poliovirus detections are cause for concern.
“However, if a particular poliovirus strain is found in an area with low vaccination coverage, there is a risk that it will spread to unvaccinated people and become infected and develop polio. A Chicago Department of Health statement said:
CDPH Deputy Director Massimo Pacilli said that although the United States eradicated polio in 1979, the detection of polio in New York last year underscored the importance of rapid detection to stem potential future outbreaks. I said that there is.
Polio can lead to permanent paralysis of the limbs and can be fatal due to paralysis of the muscles used for breathing and swallowing.
Most people who get the virus don’t experience any symptoms, but some do experience flu-like symptoms, according to Chicago health officials.
Chicago health officials said in a statement that 1 in 25 people infected with the poliovirus will develop meningitis and 1 in 200 infected will be paralyzed.
City health officials have reiterated that the risk of contracting poliovirus in the United States is very low. This is because most people are vaccinated against the virus in childhood, which protects them from serious diseases, including paralytic polio.
Studies have shown that people who were vaccinated against the poliovirus as children were Protects into adulthoodsaid Chicago health officials.