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Sullivan County, State Continue to Monitor for Polio

Liberty, NY – Sullivan County’s Department of Public Health continues to work closely with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in response to the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples.

“The DOH’s wastewater surveillance for evidence of polio is ongoing, and State officials remain in close constant contact with my office,” Public Health Director Nancy McGraw explained. “Although wastewater samples collected in July and August were positive, to date, we have not had any cases of polio diagnosed among residents in Sullivan County.”

“Nevertheless, we are urging parents to make sure their children are fully vaccinated for polio, which means the complete series of IPV outlined below,” she added. “We also want to make sure the public understands that there is no danger of contracting polio from drinking water. Typical transmission is via the oral-fecal route (touching fecal matter, then touching the mouth or face), and is of concern to those who have not been vaccinated or for children who are behind in their immunizations.”

Public Health, which has a supply of polio vaccine on hand, recommends healthcare providers take time in every primary care visit with adults and children to ensure that they are up to date with the recommended vaccines for their age.

Public Health offers Immunization Clinics the 2nd Tuesday of each month. 

The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), the only vaccine available in the United States, is safe, and contains no live virus. It protects 99-100 percent of people who get all recommended doses. In accordance with CDC, the polio immunization schedule by age is as follows:

•           All children should get 4 doses of the polio vaccine. The first dose should be given at 6 weeks through 2 months of age, followed by one dose given at 4 months of age, 6 through 18 months old, and 4 through 6 years old.

•           People starting the polio immunization series after 4 years of age who are unvaccinated or are unsure if they have been immunized should receive a total of 3 doses.

•           Adults who have only had 1 or 2 doses of the polio vaccine in the past should get the remaining 1 or 2 doses – it does not matter how long it has been since the earlier doses.

•           In addition, adults who live or work in the areas where poliovirus has been detected (Rockland County, Orange County, New York City, Sullivan County, and Nassau County) and don’t believe they are vaccinated should get vaccinated.

At this time, one lifetime booster dose of IPV should be offered to adults 18 years of age and older who have previously completed their polio vaccination series and are at the highest risk of infection. This includes:

  • Individuals working in a laboratory or healthcare setting and handling specimens that might contain polioviruses. In New York State, this may include individuals who collect or work with wastewater specimens for poliovirus testing.
  • Healthcare providers or other caregivers who have close contact with a person who could be infected with poliovirus. In New York State, this would include:
    1. Healthcare workers who work in areas with community transmission of poliovirus and who could care for patients with poliovirus (e.g., urgent care, emergency department, neurology, pediatrics).
    2. Individuals who will or might have exposure to a person known or suspected to be infected with poliovirus, such as household members and other close contacts of a case or suspect case who provide care.
    3. Child care or pre-K providers who work in areas with community transmission of poliovirus and provide diapering or toileting care or assistance.
    4. Individuals traveling to a country where there is a documented increased risk of exposure to poliovirus, in accordance with CDC guidance for travelers.

Areas considered to have community transmission of poliovirus include those where poliovirus has been repeatedly detected in wastewater. At this time, that includes Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan Counties. Booster doses are not currently recommended for individuals traveling to the New York City metropolitan area, including Rockland, Orange, or Sullivan Counties, merely because of their travel status.

If you or your child are not yet vaccinated, now is the time to get vaccinated.

For more information about immunization clinics, contact Public Health at 845-513-2249 or visit

For more information on polio and wastewater surveillance, visit: