Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Polio is found in the U.K. for the first time in nearly 40 years

Health clinics in the UK have been put on high alert after multiple samples of the virus were found in sewage water.

Health alert: Polio can be prevented by a cheap and highly effective vaccine
Health alert: Polio can be prevented by a cheap and highly effective vaccine - Copyright AFP Daniel LEAL
Health alert: Polio can be prevented by a cheap and highly effective vaccine - Copyright AFP Daniel LEAL

Health clinics in the UK have been put on high alert after multiple samples of the virus were found in sewage water, suggesting there is an outbreak occurring in the capital.

Health authorities have declared a “national incident,” however, no cases of polio have been identified so far, and the risk to the public is low, reports the New York Times.

Even still, health officials are urging anyone who is not vaccinated against polio, particularly young children, to immediately seek vaccines.

“Most of the U.K. population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk,” said Dr. Vanessa Saliba, a consultant epidemiologist for the U.K. Health Security Agency.

In a press release, the UK health Security Agency explained that several closely-related viruses were found in sewage samples collected between February and May at the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

The press release goes on to say: “The virus has continued to evolve and is now classified as a ‘vaccine-derived’ poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2), which on rare occasions can cause serious illness, such as paralysis, in people who are not fully vaccinated.”

According to the BBC, researchers are saying they believe the outbreak may have started with somebody who received the live oral polio vaccine overseas and then traveled to Britain, which stopped using the live vaccine in 2004.

“It sounds like the outbreak is very small,” says virologist Angela Rasmussen, reports NPR.com, who studies polio at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. “The outbreak could be within an extended family. Transmission would require a concentration of people who had not yet been vaccinated.”

“The pandemic has given polio the opportunity to come surging back in many countries,” Rasmussen says because it disrupted childhood vaccination programs around the world.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

You may also like:

World

Just as a matter of interest, Russia – Aren’t you getting a bit tired of it?

World

Of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims arriving in Mecca this week for the annual hajj pilgrimage.

World

]Two key members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's cabinet have quit, leaving Johnson in a precarious position.

World

As once relatively wealthy Sri Lanka suffers a dire economic crisis with shortages of everything from medicines to gas.