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NHS to Target Unvaccinated Children After Poliovirus Discovery in London


After finding vaccine-derived poliovirus in London sewer samples, the NHS plans to contact parents of unvaccinated children.

National Incident Declared After Detection of Poliovirus in London Sewage Samples

Health authorities declared a national incident on Wednesday following the return of poliovirus for the first time in decades.

The virus was detected at the Beckton sewage treatment works, which covers a population of four million in north and east London.

In response, the UK's health service is starting a major drive of children's polio vaccines.

So, vaccine-derived poliovirus is the culprit found in the sewer samples.

Yet, more polio vaccines are the answer?

What could go wrong?

From the Daily Mail:

Now an investigation is searching for the source of the outbreak, so the area can be targeted with a vaccination drive. Anyone found to be infected might be asked to isolate.

The UK Health Security Agency believes a traveller, possibly from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Nigeria, shed the virus in their faeces after being given a live oral polio vaccine during an outbreak.

It is likely they then infected relatives by failing to wash their hands properly and contaminating food and drink. Officials are looking at the possibility that just one family – or an extended family – may be affected.

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However, the NHS is starting up a major drive to ensure routine vaccinations are being taken up after the Covid-19 pandemic caused a lull in appointments.

Jane Clegg, chief nurse for the NHS in London, said: 'The NHS will begin reaching out to parents of children aged under five in London who are not up to date with their polio vaccinations to invite them to get protected.'

But as AP admitted in this 2019 publication, vaccine-derived poliovirus has impacted children more than wild poliovirus in recent years.

Four African countries have reported new cases of polio linked to the oral vaccine, as global health numbers show there are now more children being paralyzed by viruses originating in vaccines than in the wild.

In a report late last week, the World Health Organization and partners noted nine new polio cases caused by the vaccine in Nigeria, Congo, Central African Republic and Angola. Seven countries elsewhere in Africa have similar outbreaks and cases have been reported in Asia. Of the two countries where polio remains endemic, Afghanistan and Pakistan, vaccine-linked cases have been identified in Pakistan.

In rare cases, the live virus in oral polio vaccine can mutate into a form capable of sparking new outbreaks. All the current vaccine-derived polio cases have been sparked by a Type 2 virus contained in the vaccine. Type 2 wild virus was eliminated years ago.


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