Health officials in the UK have found poliovirus in sewage samples in London. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the poliovirus in sewage samples collected from the London Becton Sewage Treatment Works was probably imported into London by someone who had recently been vaccinated overseas with a live form of the virus. was imposed.
The virus continues to evolve and is now classified as ‘vaccine-driven’ poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2). It can on rare occasions cause serious illness, such as paralysis, in people who have not been fully vaccinated.
The UKHSA said that, however, the virus has only been detected in sewage samples and no cases of paralysis have been reported in the country.
It added that further investigation is underway to establish whether any community transmission is taking place.
Yet officials said vaccine-driven poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public as a whole is extremely low.
Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA, said in a statement: “Vaccine-driven poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine intake is low.
On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in those who live , who have not been fully vaccinated.”
He also urged people to stay up to date about the polio vaccine, especially the parents of young children, who may have missed the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Several close viruses were also found in sewage samples taken between February and May.
The UK was declared polio free in 2003. The last confirmed case of wild polio contracted in the UK was in 1984.