Burlington, VT — After the polio virus was detected in wastewater in New York City, a UVM Medical Center doctor addressed the importance of the polio vaccination. Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious disease specialist said that individuals not vaccinated against polio run the risk of catching the virus and that polio can spread pretty easily through water, droplet transmission, and close contact.

Although the news can be alarming to some, Dr. Lahey says that most of the time, the U.S. population should be safe.

“The vast majority of people in the United States have been vaccinated against Polio, and so do not have any risk of contracting Polio virus,” said Dr. Lahey. “But for people who are not vaccinated, hearing there is more than one strain of Polio circulating in the wastewater of New York City is very alarming. Anyone who is not vaccinated, this is a good time to try to protect your safety.”

He noted that there is no easy way to protect yourself from contact with the virus unless vaccinated and that the polio vaccination drive of the 20th century “prevented a lot of harm” for the future.