Polio Virus Confirmed in UK Sewage
The UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA) announced today it had found poliovirus in sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. However, the virus has only been detected in sewage samples.
Investigations are underway after several closely-related viruses were found in sewage samples taken between February and May 2022.
The virus is now classified as a 'vaccine-derived' poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2), which on rare occasions, can cause serious illness in people who are not fully vaccinated.
The detection of a VDPV2 suggests there has been some spread between closely-linked individuals in North and East London and that they are now shedding the type 2 poliovirus strain in their feces.
The UKHSA stated on June 22, 2022, 'As part of routine surveillance, it is normal for 1 to 3 'vaccine-like' polioviruses to be detected each year in U.K. sewage samples, but these have always been one-off findings that were not detected again.'
'These previous detections occurred when an individual vaccinated overseas with the live oral polio vaccine returned or traveled to the U.K. and briefly 'shed' traces of the vaccine-like poliovirus in their feces.
Jane Clegg, Chief nurse for the NHS in London, stated in a related media statement, 'The majority of Londoners are fully protected against Polio and won't need to take any further action, but the NHS will begin reaching out to parents of children aged under 5 in London who are not up to date with their Polio vaccinations to invite them to get protected.'
The last case of wild polio contracted in the U.K. was confirmed in 1984. And the U.K. was declared polio-free in 2003.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) reported new cases as of June 15, 2022. In addition to outbreaks, polio is endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
'Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of polio importation,' says the GPEI.
For example, Israel's Health Ministry confirmed in April 2022 that its ongoing polio vaccination campaign would expand beyond Jerusalem and be offered to about 2.5 million children.
In the USA, the U.S. CDC recommends that children get vaccinated to protect against poliomyelitis. Since 2000, an inactivated polio vaccine has been offered to children.
The CDC updated the pediatric and adult polio vaccination schedules on February 17, 2022.
Additional polio vaccine breaking news is posted at Vax-Before-Travel.com/polio.
Note: The UKHSA announcement was manually curated for mobile readership.