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All kids aged one to 9 in London are to be provided a dose of...

All kids aged one to 9 in London are to be provided a dose of the polio vaccine, after extra of the virus was discovered within the metropolis’s sewers.

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

The virus has additionally been present in decrease concentrations in areas adjoining to the Beckton catchment space to the south (instantly under the Thames) and to the east of Beckton.

Nonetheless, it isn’t clear whether or not the virus has established itself in these areas or if the detections are as a consequence of individuals from the affected space visiting these neighbouring areas.

There have been no confirmed circumstances of polio, and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has mentioned the chance to the general public is low.

The NHS will contact dad and mom when it’s their kid’s flip to come back ahead for a booster or catch-up polio dose. It can begin in areas the place the virus has been detected and the place vaccination charges are low, adopted by a fast rollout throughout the remainder of the London boroughs.

Vaccine uptake in London is already decrease than in the remainder of the nation – at 90% having the right variety of vaccines, in comparison with 95% nationally.

Virus discovered throughout routine sewage inspection

The UK Well being Safety Company declared a national incident in June after traces of the virus have been found during routine surveillance on the Beckton Sewage Remedy Works.

It’s regular for one to 3 “vaccine-like” polioviruses to be detected annually in UK sewage samples, however they’ve all the time been one-off findings.

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The latest discovery, nonetheless, has seen the virus detected in quite a few surveillances of the sewage.

Only some of the samples had adequate mutations to be categorized as vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2). Nonetheless, VDPV2 is of larger concern because it behaves extra like naturally occurring ‘wild’ polio and should, on uncommon events, result in circumstances of paralysis in unvaccinated people.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Advisor Epidemiologist at UKHSA mentioned: Polio is a critical an infection that may trigger paralysis however nationally the general danger is taken into account low as a result of most individuals are protected by vaccination.

“The final case of polio within the UK was in 1984, however a long time in the past earlier than we launched the polio vaccination programme round 8000 individuals would develop paralysis yearly.

“It’s vital dad and mom guarantee their kids are absolutely vaccinated for his or her age. Following JCVI recommendation all kids aged one to 9 years in London have to have a dose of polio vaccine now – whether or not it is an additional booster dose or simply to meet up with their routine vaccinations. It can guarantee a excessive degree of safety from paralysis. This may increasingly additionally assist cease the virus spreading additional.”

Beckton Sewage Works
Picture: The virus was first detected at Beckton Sewage Works

What’s polio and the way does it unfold?

There have been no confirmed circumstances of paralysis as a consequence of polio caught within the UK since 1984.

Polio is a contagious virus that may be transmitted by means of coughs and sneezes, but in addition by means of meals, water, or objects which have been in touch with the faeces of somebody contaminated with it.

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It has flu-like signs, together with: a excessive temperature, excessive tiredness, complications, vomiting, a stiff neck and muscle ache. These often final for ten days, however may end up in extra critical signs – and is probably life threatening.

It primarily impacts kids beneath the age of 5, though it might additionally affect unvaccinated adults.

The virus has been eradicated in most components of the world as a consequence of a profitable world vaccination programme, however it’s nonetheless present in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Source: UK Health Security Agency
Picture: Supply: UK Well being Safety Company

Vaccines are given to kids at eight, 12 and 16 weeks with booster doses administered at three years, 4 months and once more at aged 14. The brand new vaccine will probably be along with the childhood immunisation programme.

All 5 vaccines are required to be absolutely protected towards the virus.