Polio resurfaces in UK for first time in 38 years

“Polio is back in the UK”, prevent daily I, Thursday, June 23. The day before, the British health authorities sounded the alarm: the virus, officially eradicated in the country since 2003, was identified in the sewers of north and east London. “The samples, taken between February and May, suggest that the virus circulated in a focus or potentially an extended familyexplains the London newspaper. No cases of polio have been identified, but these tests appear to confirm the first spread between humans in the UK since 1984.

Most infected people develop no symptoms, often associated with those of the flu or, in 1% of cases, causing paralysis.

“The public authorities believe that the risk is very low for the general population, but a race against time is still underway to identify the origin of this transmission, potentially a person vaccinated abroad with an attenuated virus which would then be found in the sewage.”

In the United Kingdom, continues the daily I, immunization campaigns are carried out using an inactivated virus, a technique that is more effective against the disease, but less against transmission. Problem, in recent years, the vaccination rate has declined among children, the most vulnerable category of the population. “The first dose was given to 92% of babies aged 1 year in 2020 and 2021, a decreasing rate. But it is above all the recall that poses a problem, with a drop in the rate to 71% last year among 14-year-old adolescents because of the confinements, the pupils being generally vaccinated at school”, Explain I.

“It is this combination of poliovirus derived from a vaccine source, with lower vaccine coverage particularly in London and the use of less effective inactivated virus against transmission, that is cause for concern.”

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