The polio virus knocks on Europe’s doors again, in London. A first ‘case’ after almost 40 years. The UK Heath Security Agency (Ukhsa), in collaboration with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (Mhra), found the poliovirus in wastewater samples collected by the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in the north and east of the British metropolis. The last case of wild-type polio in the UK dates back to 1984 and the country was declared ‘polio-free’ in 2003. According to Ukhsa, “it is normal for one to 3 polioviruses similar to be detected each year. vaccine ‘in UK wastewater samples. However, these’ cases’ are linked to people vaccinated abroad with the oral vaccine (Opv), traces of which then end up in the faeces in the sewers. ” Investigations are still ongoing, but several polioviruses were found between February and March during the wastewater sampling. “The virus has continued to evolve and is now classified as a type 2 poliovirus (Vdpv2) derived from a vaccine which on rare occasions can cause serious illness, such as paralysis, in people who are not fully vaccinated,” warns Ukhsa. . According to experts, it is likely “that there has been some spread of the virus in North and East London among related people and we now detect the type 2 poliovirus strain through their faeces.” In fact, to date, no cases of polio with paralysis have been reported in London, but “the investigations are aimed at establishing whether a transmission is occurring in the community”, clarifies the Ukhsa. According to Vanessa Saliba, epidemiologist of the agency, “the derived poliovirus vaccination is rare and the risk for people in general is extremely low “. Most of the UK population is protected from polio virus by being vaccinated in childhood, “but in some communities with low vaccination coverage some people may be at risk.”
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