The British Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA) reported that the virus was discovered in samples taken between February and June at the Beckton sewage station, which serves about four million people in the north and east of the capital.
Detection of this poliovirus “suggests that it is likely to have spread between people with close relatives in north and east London,” says UKHSA, although it has so far not identified any cases of an infected person, the virus has only been found in sewers.
Until now, it was “normal” to detect one to three cases a year, especially because of people who have been vaccinated abroad with oral vaccines made with a live virus that can leave traces in the feces.
But this time, the evidence points to a virus that has continued to develop and is now classified as a “vaccine-derived poliovirus,” which can cause severe symptoms, such as paralysis, in unvaccinated people.
According to the authorities, the majority of the population was immunized in childhood from this disease, but there are communities with a low level of vaccination, in which the risk of infection is higher, so people are invited to consult newsletters and update vaccines. .
According to the BBC, only 86% of London residents have three doses compared to over 92% in the rest of the UK.
The health agency believes that the virus may have arrived in the UK earlier this year from a person who was vaccinated abroad, probably in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nigeria, and that that person probably infected other people.
The UKHSA called on doctors and health professionals to “extensively investigate and report all suspected cases of acute flaccid paralysis” that cannot be explained by non-infectious causes.
It also calls on health centers to check whether patients have received the polio vaccine, as well as to place “special emphasis” on the immunization of “new migrants, asylum seekers and refugees”.
Poliomyelitis is a contagious drug-free disease that mainly affects children under the age of five and can only be prevented with a vaccine.
In some cases, it can cause paralysis of the limbs.
The virus is easily spread when an infected person coughs or rains, and can also be transmitted through food or water that has been in contact with the infected person’s feces.
The last case of polio in the UK was recorded in 1984, and the virus was declared eradicated in the country in 2003.
Despite being eliminated in most parts of the world thanks to a large vaccination program, the poliovirus still exists mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.