FACT CHECK: Was Polio Found In New York City Tap Water?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the polio virus was found in “New York City water.”

Verdict: Misleading

While traces of polio were recently detected in New York wastewater, there is no indication that the virus has been discovered in New York City tap water.

Fact Check:

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that the polio virus has been found in several samples of wastewater in the New York City area. The virus is believed to have been circulating in the area for months, according to CNBC.

An image shared on Facebook suggests the virus has now been found in the city’s tap water. The image shows a screenshot of a tweet that includes a photo. of New York City Mayor Eric Adams drinking the city’s tap water. “Do you all remember that time when Mayor Adam’s told everyone in New York City to drink the tap water? Anyways, they found Polio in the New York City water,” reads the tweet’s text.

“We are similar to a 3rd world country now because people didn’t like ‘mean tweets,'” the post’s caption claims. (RELATED: Is Monkeypox Only Spreading In Countries Where The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Has Been Distributed?)

The claim is baseless. There are no credible news reports to suggest that polio was found in New York tap water. No such announcement appears on the New York State Department of Health’s website or the department’s verified social media pages.

“I have not seen any reputable sources report poliovirus in the drinking water supply,” said Dr. Marny Eulberg, a polio survivor and member of the Board of Polio Health International, in an email to Check Your Fact. “If that were true, I’d expect to be seeing at least a few cases of acute polio paralysis.”

“New Yorkers should know that wastewater is not the same as drinking water, and wastewater collected in sewer systems cannot be a source of infection or transmission for the general public,” Samantha Fuld, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health, told Check Your Fact in an email. “Wastewater in our sewage systems does not contaminate our drinking water, including tap water.”

This is not the first time the city of New York has been the subject of health-related misinformation. Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim from October 2021 suggesting hospitals were refusing to release newborns to parents unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter
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