(ORDO NEWS) — The last case of wild polio infection in the UK was recorded in 1984, and in 2003 the country was declared free from this infection.
The British Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) has declared a national emergency due to the detection of poliovirus, the infectious agent that causes human poliomyelitis, in wastewater samples taken from wastewater treatment plants in the suburban Beckton region in East London.
This was reported by Sky News , and the information was also confirmed by the World Health Organization.
“The Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) has confirmed the isolation of vaccine poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) from environmental samples in London detected as part of disease surveillance.
It is important to note that the virus was isolated only from environmental samples – no associated cases of paralysis were recorded, ”the statement says.
Normally, one to three “vaccine-like” polioviruses are found in sewage every year in the United Kingdom, but each time these were isolated cases and the virus was not found again.
Now the investigation was carried out due to several closely related viruses found from February to May (again, in sewage samples from the same place). As it turned out, the poliovirus continued to evolve.
According to the WHO, recent vaccinations against several diseases, including polio, suggest that 86.6 per cent of Londoners are immunized.
The media note that the virus could have entered the sewers from a person who had recently been vaccinated against polio – moreover, in a country where this infectious disease has not yet been defeated, for example, in Afghanistan, Nigeria or Pakistan.
The World Health Organization is calling on all countries, especially those with high tourist traffic and contact with polio-affected states and territories, to step up surveillance to rapidly detect any new imported virus.
As for the UK, the next level of emergency could be introduced if more samples of poliovirus are found in the future. Then they will vaccinate risk groups and collect tests from residents of the areas where the infectious agent was found.
Poliomyelitis is a spinal paralysis, an acute infectious disease that is characterized by pathology of the nervous system, affects mainly children and is transmitted by coughing and sneezing, through food, water, or objects that retain fecal samples of the infected person.
The poliovirus can live in the throat and intestines of an infected person for several weeks and spread, although the patient will not experience any symptoms.
There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented through vaccination. This is how the virus was eliminated in most countries. The last case of wild polio infection in the UK was recorded in 1984, and in 2003 the country was declared free from this infection.
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