Protection against wiped out virus: London plans big polio vaccination campaign for children

Protection against wiped out virus: London plans big polio vaccination campaign for children

Protection against wiped out viruses
London plans big polio vaccination campaign for children

Polio virus is believed to be eradicated in most countries. In Great Britain, the last case occurred in 1984, until the pathogen suddenly reappeared in the sewage of London. No new case of infection has been reported so far. British health officials still do not want to take any risks.

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

Poliomyelitis – the medical term for polio – was common around the world until a vaccine was discovered in the 1950s. The infectious disease is now considered eradicated in most areas of the world. The last case in the UK was reported in 1984.

Oral vaccination against polio completely protects vaccinated people from infection, but this vaccine can contaminate other people through feces in wastewater contaminated with the virus. The resulting virus variant, while weaker than wild poliovirus, can still cause severe illness and paralysis in unvaccinated people. Young children are particularly affected.

Expert fear local spread

Authorities in London have not yet identified any new cases of infection. However, findings from several sewage treatment plants indicate that “there is a certain level of virus transmission in these districts that can spread to nearby areas,” the ministry said.

Polio expert Kathleen O’Reilly fears “local spread of the polio virus”. Most likely people with missing or incomplete vaccinations are affected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the polio vaccination rate in London is just 87 percent lower than in the rest of the country. This also USA recently reported first case of polio for almost a decade.

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