Protection from eradicated virus: London plans major polio vaccination campaign for children

Virus rooted protection
London is planning a major campaign to vaccinate children against polio

Poliovirus is considered endemic in most countries. In Great Britain, the last case occurred in 1984, until the pathogen suddenly appeared in the wastewater of London. No new cases of infection have been reported so far. British health authorities still do not want to take the risk.

In London, one million children are set to receive a booster vaccination against polio after the pathogen was discovered in the British capital’s sewage. According to the UK Department of Health, polio vaccination is recommended for all children aged one to nine years.

Polio – the medical term for polio – was common around the world until a vaccine was found in the 1950s. The infectious disease is now considered to be eradicated in most regions of the world. In the UK, the last case was recorded in 1984.

Oral polio vaccination completely protects vaccinated people from infection, but it can lead to contamination of other people by faeces in sewage contaminated with the vaccine viruses. The resulting virus variant, although weaker than the wild poliovirus, can still cause serious illness and paralysis in unvaccinated people. Young children are particularly affected.

Domestic experts fears spread

The authorities in London have not yet identified any new cases. However, results in several sewage treatment plants indicated that “there is a certain level of transmission of the virus in these areas that can spread to neighboring areas,” the ministry said.

Polio expert Kathleen O’Reilly fears “the local spread of the polio virus.” People with missing or incomplete immunization are most likely to be affected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), London’s polio vaccination rate is just under 87 percent – just below the rest of the country. Moreover The United States of America recently reported its first case of polio For nearly a decade.

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