(ANSA) - LONDON - A potential outbreak of polio virus - declared eradicated in the UK since 2003 - has been reported by the British health authorities after the examination between February and May of some samples collected in a London sewerage with traces of positivity.
The warning was launched by the UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA), the public health system agency that deals with medical safety, whose leaders today issued an ad hoc alert signed together with the national drug agency (MHRA ).
The samples were identified at the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, which manages the disposal of some neighborhoods in the east and north of the British capital, an area where about 4 million people live.
No test positive patients have been tracked so far, but the virus is believed to have been imported by a partially vaccinated person into foreign countries where it is still active (such as Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nigeria) and then spread in a relatively closed circle. of relatives or neighbors, until it is detected in the faeces.
The appeal reminds us how polio can have disabling and in some cases even fatal consequences.
The traces found are those of vaccine derivation of type 2 poliovirus (VDPV2), which in defined rare cases can seriously infect people who have not completed vaccination cycles.
Hence the generalized appeal to parents and families to have all children who have not completed them subjected to the required reminders.
Although the disease is believed to have been eradicated in the UK, barring episodic cases of imports from abroad in recent years, the UK National Health Service (NHS) still requires mass administration of the polio vaccine to infants at 8 weeks of age. age, with boosters at 12 and 16 weeks as part of the "6-in-1" cycle vaccinations.
An additional booster is then expected at 3 years and 4 months with the "4-in-1" cycle.
And a last one is indicated for teenagers at 14, for the "3-in-1".
According to the most recent estimates, today 95% of children have completed the entire vaccination program prescribed at national level;
this share however drops to 90% in multiethnic and multicultural London.
"If you have had the bad idea not to vaccinate your children against polio (or you are not vaccinated), do so immediately."
He wrote the immunologist Roberto Burioni in a tweet.
"Let me explain: man is the only natural host of the polio virus so if the virus is in the London sewers it means that in London there are people who have polio at the moment", he then added.