Polio vaccine

All London children aged one to nine will be offered a dose of polio vaccine after more virus is found in sewers

All children aged one to nine in London are to be offered a dose of the polio vaccine, after more virus was found in the city’s sewers.

Vaccine-derived poliovirus has been detected in sewage from Barnet, Brent, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

The virus has also been found in lower concentrations in areas adjacent to the Beckton Catchment to the south (immediately below the River Thames) and east of Beckton.

However, it is unclear whether the virus has become established in these areas or whether the detections are due to people from the affected area visiting these nearby areas.

There have been no confirmed cases of polio and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has said the risk to the public is low.

The NHS will contact parents when it is their child’s turn to come in for a polio booster or catch-up dose. It will start in areas where the virus has been detected and vaccination rates are low, followed by a rapid roll-out to the rest of London’s boroughs.

Immunization coverage in London is already lower than the rest of the country – 90% having the correct number of vaccines, compared to 95% nationally.

Virus found during routine sewage inspection

The UK Health Security Agency declared a national incident in June after traces of the virus were discovered during routine monitoring at the Beckton sewage treatment plant.

It is normal for one to three “vaccine-like” polioviruses to be detected each year in sewage samples in the UK, but these are always one-off findings.

The recent discovery, however, saw the virus detected in a number of sewage monitoring.

Only a few of the samples had enough mutations to be classified as vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2). However, VDPV2 is of greater concern because it behaves more like naturally occurring “wild” polio and can, on rare occasions, cause paralysis in unvaccinated people.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: Polio is a serious infection that can cause paralysis, but nationally the overall risk is considered low as most people are protected by polio. vaccination.

“The last case of polio in the UK was in 1984, but decades ago, before the polio vaccination program was introduced, around 8,000 people developed paralysis each year.

“It is essential that parents ensure that their children are fully vaccinated for their age. Following JCVI advice, all children aged one to nine in London should receive a dose of polio vaccine now – that this is an extra booster dose or just to catch up on routine vaccinations. This will provide a high level of protection against paralysis. It can also help prevent the spread of the virus.”

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The virus was first detected at Beckton Sewage Works

What is poliomyelitis and how is it spread?

There have been no confirmed cases of paralysis due to polio caught in the UK since 1984.

Poliomyelitis is a contagious virus that can be transmitted by coughing and sneezing, but also by food, water or objects that have been in contact with the feces of an infected person.

He has flu-like symptoms including: high temperature, extreme fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and muscle aches. These usually last for ten days, but can lead to more severe symptoms – and potentially fatal ones.

It mainly affects children under five, although it can also affect unvaccinated adults.

The virus has been eradicated from most parts of the world through a successful global vaccination program, but it is still present in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Source: UK Health Security Agency
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Source: UK Health Security Agency

Vaccines are given to children at eight, 12 and 16 weeks with booster doses given at three years, four months and again at 14 years. The new vaccine will be added to the vaccination program for children.

All five vaccines must be fully protected against the virus.

All London children aged one to nine will be offered a dose of polio vaccine after more virus is found in sewers

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