- Jim Reid and Philip Roxby
- Health Reporters
British health officials have confirmed that a dangerous number of samples taken from sewage in London have been found to cause the polio virus.
Polio was common in the UK in the 1950s but was eradicated in 2003.
The virus may have been brought to London by someone who was recently vaccinated with a live version of the virus abroad, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
The agency says the risk is low, but parents need to make sure their children are fully vaccinated against the disease.
Epidemiologist Dr. Vanessa Saliba, a consultant to the UK Health Security Agency, said: ‘Most people in the UK will be protected from the childhood vaccine, but in some communities where vaccine protection is low, individuals may still be at risk.
The inactivated polio vaccine is used in the UK as part of a regular childhood vaccination program. It is given three times before one year of age, then again at three years of age and finally at 13 years of age.
About 86 per cent of people in London get the first three doses of the vaccine, which is less than the target dose, while in other parts of the UK the rate is more than 90 per cent.
The incident was reported nationally by British health officials and reported to the World Health Organization.
The virus was found in the sewage
Over the past four months, the UK Health Security Agency has detected the polio virus in samples collected from the Pecton sewage system, which serves four million people in north and east London.
Scientists believe the source of the virus is a person who has been vaccinated abroad with the oral polio vaccine, which contains a live version of the virus that has not been used in the UK since 2004.
Traces of the virus in the person’s gut then fell into the sewage, where they were found in the sample.
In rare cases, this type of virus can be transmitted to others and become “vaccine-acquired” polio.
Although it is weaker than the original or “home-grown” form of the disease, it can cause serious symptoms, including freezing, in people who have not been vaccinated.
A small number of samples of poliovirus are detected in wastewater monitoring each year, but this is the first time genetically related samples have been detected over several months.
Health officials say there have been some outbreaks of the virus among close relatives in London.
No actual cases of polio have been detected and no reports of rare but serious symptoms have been reported in the UK.
Jane Clegg, NHS chief nurse in London, said the agency would reach out to parents in London who have not changed their childhood size.
He added, “Parents can check their children’s immunization status in the Red Vaccine Book, and if they or their children are not fully vaccinated, they should contact the GP Clinic to book the vaccine.”
Polio is a rare disease that is spread by coughing and sneezing when a person does not wash their hands properly after using the toilet or touches food or water ingested by others.
Most infected people do not show any symptoms of the disease and fight the virus without realizing that they are infected. A small number of individuals will have flu-like symptoms for up to three weeks.
At the lowest number, it is believed to be 1 percent to 1 percent per thousand, and the polio virus infects the nerves in the spine and the base of the brain.
It can cause strokes, which are usually in the legs. If the muscles that cause breathing are damaged, it can be life threatening.
“Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator.”