Polio Virus Found in London Sewage System
Thursday 23rd, June 2022
Health officials are concerned with finding traces of the polio virus in routine inspections, this is the first time the virus has been detected a few months apart since the last case in 1984.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are now worried about community spread but have stressed that the risk to the public is extremely low.

There were several closely related polio virus variants found in sewage samples taken between February and May, it has now been classified as a 'vaccine-derived' polio virus type 2 (VDPV2).

It's currently believed that there is some spread of the polio virus in the north east London area, it's expected this spread to be between extended family members but hasn't been confirmed. These individuals are reported to be shedding the type 2 polio virus strain in their faeces.

There are investigations ongoing as to try and determine the extent of community transmission and to try and identify where the transmission is occurring.

A consultant epidemiologist with the UKHSA, Dr. Vanessa Saliba said, "Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public overall is extremely low."

"Vaccine-derived poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is lower. On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated so if you or your child are not up to date with your polio vaccinations it's important you contact your GP to catch up or, if unsure, check your red book."

"Most of the UK population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk.

"We are urgently investigating to better understand the extent of this transmission and the NHS has been asked to swiftly report any suspected cases to the UKHSA, though no cases have been reported or confirmed so far."

This is a developing situation.
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