The Chicago Division of Public Well being introduced that the town’s wastewater surveillance program will increase to start testing for poliovirus, with samples collected from reclamation crops that serve Chicago and the encompassing suburbs.
Whereas no case of polio has been recognized in Chicago or Illinois presently, metropolis well being officers mentioned the enlargement is a proactive measure to extend capability to detect and reply to case of the virus.
The preventative measure is probably going in response to the detection of polio in metropolis wastewater samples in New York in July 2022.
Additional wastewater testing indicated that the virus was current in a number of counties with a low polio vaccination price, indicating that polio was seemingly circulating among the many native communities.
Whereas metropolis well being officers mentioned that wastewater testing can not reveal who’s contaminated or how many individuals are contaminated, it could help different knowledge and surveillance strategies used to stop unfold of the virus.
Officers later added that not each detection of poliovirus can be trigger for concern.
“Nonetheless, if particular strains of poliovirus are present in communities which have low vaccination charges, it could unfold amongst unvaccinated people, placing them in danger for changing into contaminated and growing polio. Anybody who’s unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated is in danger for growing paralysis if contaminated with poliovirus,” an announcement from the Chicago Division of Well being mentioned.
CDPH Deputy Commissioner Massimo Pacilli mentioned that whereas polio was eradicated within the U.S. in 1979, final 12 months’s detection in New York highlights the significance of fast detection to stem any potential future outbreaks.
Polio might result in everlasting paralysis of the limbs and is doubtlessly deadly as a result of paralysis of muscle tissues used to breathe or swallow.
In keeping with Chicago well being officers, most individuals contaminated with the virus won’t expertise any signs, whereas some will expertise flu-like signs.
One in 25 individuals who get contaminated with poliovirus will contract meningitis, whereas one in 200 individuals contaminated will grow to be paralyzed, Chicago well being officers mentioned in an announcement.
Metropolis well being officers reiterated that the danger of contracting poliovirus within the U.S. is extraordinarily low, as most individuals are vaccinated towards the virus of their childhood, offering safety towards severe sickness, together with paralytic polio.
Analysis means that people who find themselves vaccinated towards poliovirus as kids are seemingly protected by means of maturity, Chicago well being officers mentioned.