What is polio and should we be concerned about the discovery of the polio virus in London?

This is the first time since 1984 that the virus has been found to be spreading in the UK community. However, no cases of polio have been reported, meaning that infected people have not experienced unusual but potentially severe symptoms, such as stroke.

The virus is derived from an oral polio vaccine given abroad and is most likely transmitted by a vaccinated person who came to London from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nigeria this year. Other members of this person’s extended family may have contracted the virus.

Where was the virus detected in London?

Exact locations have not been identified but six boroughs – thought to be in north and east London – are under investigation.

How was the virus discovered?

Wastewater from Bacton Sewerage Works is tested every fortnight to test for various diseases. The virus was first detected in February, then in April and more recently. Genetic similarities were found in the samples, which led to the belief that a family or extended family was involved.

How worried should we be?

Health officials say the discovery is alarming but a current threat. [of the virus spreading] About 15% of young people in London do not have two boosters. These are children and adolescents who have not been vaccinated and are at risk.

What is polio?

Polio is a rare disability and a deadly disease caused by the polio virus. It can affect organs or the respiratory and nervous systems.

The virus spreads to the intestines and infected people excrete large amounts of the virus in their stools. The virus can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis.

Does every person who suffers from polio become seriously ill?

No, most people with polio will have no symptoms and will fight the infection without realizing they are infected. Very few people will experience a flu-like illness three to 21 days after infection.

In rare cases, between one in 100 and one in 1,000 infections, the polio virus attacks the spinal cord and nerves of the brain. It can cause paralysis, usually in the legs, which develops in hours or days. If the respiratory muscles are affected, it can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of polio?

Symptoms may include: Temperature 38C or higher (fever); Sore throat; Headache; Stomach pain; Muscle aches; Feeling or being sick. These symptoms will usually go away in about a week without any medical intervention.

Wasn’t polio a disease since the 1940’s and 1950’s?

Yes, at least in the UK. There were about 2,000 cases a year in the 1940s, and the epidemic was widespread in the 1940s and 1950s. As a result, the United Kingdom introduced an injectable vaccine in 1955, which was converted to an oral vaccine in 1961. Many adults will remember receiving it at school for a lump of sugar. The UK introduced an injectable vaccine in 2004 and now gives children more than three doses as part of a job in six, followed by a booster for preschool children and adolescents. Polio has been officially eradicated in the UK, but the current virus has been imported.

Where did the virus come from?

It is believed to have been dumped in the waste of a man who recently arrived in the UK. The person may have received the oral vaccine abroad, and may have transmitted parts of the “live” virus – perhaps through poor hygiene practices, such as not washing hands after using Lou and then eating other people’s food. Touch

How many people are affected?

It is impossible to say at this stage – experts cannot be sure how many cases of the virus are needed to detect this in sewage samples. But it is thought to be an extended family, rather than hundreds or thousands. “Very small number” is the best guest right now.

Has anyone contracted polio as a result?

No, no case has been reported so far. The overall risk to the public is classified as “low”.

Is it related to the epidemic – or the war in Ukraine?

Yes and no. It is learned that the school immunization program has been delayed due to various lockdowns and children being away from the classroom. However, the polio virus detected in London is not the same as that found in Ukraine.

What can I do to protect my children?

Check their vaccine record and if they have not received all three doses (eight, 12 and 16 week olds are given as part of one vaccine in six) and preschool (ages three years and four months) ) And teen booster (age 14), contact your GP.

More details about the virus?

It is classified as a “vaccine-derived” polio virus type 2 (VDPV2), which in rare cases causes serious illness, such as stroke, in people who have not been fully vaccinated. Can

Who discovered the virus?

The testing was performed by the WHO Global Specialized Polio Laboratory, part of the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, which is part of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The center conducts routine environmental monitoring for wild-type and vaccine-like polio viruses as part of the UK’s commitment to the WHO’s Global Polio Eradication Program.

How do viruses spread?

Vaccine viruses can spread from one person to another in non-vaccinated communities through poor hand hygiene and water and food contamination (and, less often, coughing and sneezing).

During the outbreak, the virus could turn into a “vaccine-derived polio virus.” It behaves like a naturally occurring “wild” polio and, in rare cases, can cause paralysis in people who have not been vaccinated.