Public health officials have declared daily sewage surveillance in north and east London to be a national event for the first time after finding evidence of community transmission of the polio virus.
The UK’s Public Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said the tailings of the Bacon sewer in Newham had been positive for the poliovirus vaccine in February and that more positive samples had been found since then.
No cases of the disease or related paralysis have been reported and the risk to the general public is considered low, but public health officials have urged people to make sure they and their families have been vaccinated against polio to reduce the risk. .
“Vaccine-acquired polio virus has the potential to spread, especially in communities where vaccination is less common,” said Dr. Vanessa Saliba, an epidemiologist-consultant-epidemiologist at the UKHSA. “In rare cases, it can lead to paralysis in people who have not been fully vaccinated, so if you or your child are unaware of your polio vaccination, see a doctor or check your red book.”
“Most people in the UK are protected from childhood vaccinations, but in some communities where vaccines are scarce, people may be at risk,” he added.
Sewage tests in the UK usually get several unrelated polioviruses each year. These were people who had been vaccinated against polio in another country and then traveled to the United Kingdom. People who have been vaccinated orally can spill the weakened live virus used in the vaccine on their faces for weeks.
The London samples, which have been found since February, sounded the bell because they were in contact with each other and contained mutations that transmitted the virus from person to person.
It is believed that the cause of the disease was a man who returned to the UK after receiving an oral polio vaccine and distributed it to the local population. It is not known how widespread the virus is, but it can occur in a single family or large family.
Polio is transmitted through poor hand hygiene and often through contaminated food and water, or through coughing and sneezing. The most common way of infection is through contaminated hands after people go to the toilet and then through contact with food eaten by others.
Although the UK has generally responded well to the polio vaccine, although 95% of five-year-olds have been affected, coverage is lagging behind in London, where only 91.2% of children of this age have been vaccinated. In response to the virus, the NHS will contact parents of children who have not been vaccinated against polio.
Most people with polio have no symptoms, but some develop a flu-like illness three weeks later. Between one in 100 and one in 1,000 infections, the virus attacks nerves in the spine and under the brain, leading to paralysis, often in the legs. In rare cases, the virus can attack the muscles used to breathe and cause death.
The UK switched from oral polio vaccine (OPV) in 2004 to injectable activated polio vaccine (IPV). Vaccinations are given as part 6 at eight, 12, and 16 weeks of NHS childhood vaccination. 1 vaccine. Amplifiers are recommended for ages three and 14.
The UKHSA is currently analyzing samples of wastewater from local areas within the Bekton plant to narrow the spread of the virus. If these tests identify the source of the epidemic, public health groups may recommend polio vaccinations to those at risk.
Professor Nicholas Grassley, head of the epidemiological research team at Imperial College London, said: “Polio is a disease that persists in the poorest parts of the world and the UK frequently detects virus imports during routine sewage testing.
“In this case, there are fears that the virus could spread to London,” he said. Fortunately, no one has symptoms so far, affecting only about 1 in 200 people infected, but it is important that children are fully familiar with polio vaccines. Until polio is eradicated worldwide, we will continue to be at risk of contracting the disease. ”