Health officials in the UK are urging people who may not yet have the latest information about their polio vaccine to get vaccinated after the discovery of poliovirus during routine surveillance of wild samples in London.
The investigation is ongoing after a number of closely related viruses were discovered in wild samples at the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works conducted between February and May, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It is not uncommon for an ‘injection-like’ ‘virus’ to be detected annually in wild samples in the UK but this has been the only detection that has not been detected,” said UKHSA.
“This earlier discovery occurred when a person who had been vaccinated overseas with live polio vaccine returned to or from the UK and ‘briefly’ spent ‘polio vaccine-like vaccines in the wild,” he added.
Recent samples have raised fears as the virus “continues to emerge and is now considered a ‘vaccinated’ poliovirus virus (VDPV 2), which rarely causes serious illness, such as paralysis of completely uninfected people. , “said UKHSA.
No cases of the virus were reported and the risk to the community is considered low. But Vanessa Saliba, an epidemiologist at UKHSA, urged the public to keep their polio vaccines up to date.
“Most people in the UK will be protected from childhood immunizations, but in some low-income communities, people can always be at risk,” Saliba said in a statement.
“The discovery of VDPV2 suggests that there may be some spread among the closest people in North East London and that they are now releasing type 2 poliovirus into the wild,” the statement added.
Major international vaccination campaigns have long been under way to eradicate the wild polio virus. The UKHSA said the last case of polio found in the UK was confirmed in 1984, and the UK was declared free of polio in 2003.
The polio virus that is found in the vaccine, such as those recently identified in London, comes from the weakened polio virus in the oral polio vaccine used in other parts of the world.
Those viruses can change over time to behave like a wild virus, and the poliovirus found in a vaccine can spread, especially to uninfected people.
Symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, neck stiffness, joint pain and, in very small percentage, paralysis, which are usually permanent. There is no cure for pneumonia.