The UKHSA has identified a polio virus in a London sewer and announced a national event

British health officials say they are “urgently” investigating the discovery of a rare poliovirus in London’s sewage samples.

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British health officials say they are investigating the discovery of a rare polio virus in London’s sewage samples, which could jeopardize Britain’s polio-free status for the first time in nearly two decades.

The UK’s health agency said on Wednesday that a number of wastes from the Bacon sewer in Newham, east London, had tested positive for the polio virus, which was vaccinated in February-May.

The virus has been evolving ever since and is now classified as a “vaccine-derived” polio virus type 2, UKHSA said, adding that it was seeking to determine if the community had any infection.

The agency declared it a national event and reported the situation to the World Health Organization.

“We are urgently investigating to better understand the scale of this transmission and the NHS has been asked to report any suspicious cases to the UKHSA immediately, but no cases have been reported or confirmed so far,” the doctor said. Vanessa Saliba, an epidemiologist with the UKHSA consultant, said on Wednesday.

Polio is a rare virus that can cause serious illness, such as paralysis, in people who are not fully vaccinated from time to time. The disease was widespread in Britain in the 1950s, but the country was declared polio-free in 2003.

The UKHSA said the risk to the general public was very low, but urged parents to get their children fully vaccinated against the disease. In the UK, it is common practice for children to receive an inactivated polio vaccine as part of a routine immunization program; three shots under one year old, and another shot at three and 14 years old.

“Most people in the UK are protected from childhood vaccinations, but in some communities where vaccine coverage is low, people may be at risk,” Saliba said.

Every year, one to three “vaccine-like” polio viruses are detected in the British sewer system.

Such findings have always been one-time findings, and occurred when a person who had previously been vaccinated abroad with a live polio vaccine returned or traveled to the United Kingdom and briefly “spilled” traces of the vaccine-like polio virus in their feces.

However, this is the first time that a cluster of genetically related samples has been identified repeatedly over several months.

Vaccination status

Researchers say this indicates that some communities have sprung up in north and east London between people who are in close contact with each other.

According to the UKHSA, the virus has so far been detected only in wastewater samples and no cases of polio have been reported.

Although polio vaccination is common in the UK, vaccination rates vary across the country, and less accepted communities are at greater risk.

In particular, the availability of vaccines against children has declined in recent years at the national level and especially in parts of London.

The UK’s National Health Service says parents should consult a doctor to have their child’s vaccines updated.

“Most Londoners are fully protected against polio and no further action is needed, but the NHS is calling on parents in London who are unaware that children under the age of 5 are vaccinated against polio to call for their protection.” head nurse.

“At the same time, parents can check their children’s vaccination status from their Red Book, and if they or their children are not completely renewed, people should seek GP surgery for vaccination,” he added.

In 2004, Britain switched from an oral polio vaccine to an inactivated polio vaccine that is given by injection and prevents infection.

In general, people with polio show no symptoms, but some develop a flu-like illness after three weeks. In rare cases, the virus can attack nerves in the spine and under the brain, leading to paralysis. It can sometimes attack the muscles used for breathing and cause death.

Medical experts say early detection of the virus is important to control its spread and prevent more serious cases.

“In populations that are less receptive to the vaccine, a live polio vaccine can be passed from one person to another. If it is stable, over time (one or two years) the virus from the vaccine can mutate, become fully virulent, and start again. It can lead to disease, ”said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.


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