Polio, a paralytic disease caused by a virus, has been eliminated in the U.S. — and nearly wiped out globally — thanks to vaccines. But social media posts are reviving old, false claims that polio is instead caused by pesticides and outbreaks of the disease ended when people stopped using DDT.
Wastewater surveillance is a public health tool that can track the spread of pathogens. The virus that causes polio was detected in New York City sewage as part of such monitoring efforts. Social media posts, however, have incorrectly claimed the virus was found in tap water. Similar claims have been made about the monkeypox virus.