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UK declares state of emergency over polio virus in sewage

The UK Health Safety Authority declared a national emergency on June 22 after the first polio virus was detected in London’s sewage since 1984. informs The Guardian, citing the department.

The agency posted on its website messagewhich says it is investigating and strongly advised citizens to get polio vaccinated, especially parents of young children who may not have been vaccinated yet. Between one and three “vaccine-like” polio viruses have been detected in UK wastewater samples each year, according to the agency, but these have always been one-time cases. The need for special control measures arose after several closely related viruses were detected in samples taken between February and May.

The agency noted that the virus continued to mutate and is now classified as vaccine-derived polio virus type 2. In rare cases, it can cause serious illness – up to paralysis – in people who have not been vaccinated.

The virus was found only in sewage samples, and no associated cases of paralysis were reported. However, the agency is going to conduct an investigation to determine if there is any transmission of the virus in the county.

The last case of polio in the UK was confirmed in 1984, but since then there have been dozens of cases brought from abroad. In 2003, the WHO announced that polio was no longer in the UK.

  • News of the discovery of polio in London came amid the spread of another virus, monkeypox. More monkeypox cases have been reported in the UK than in other countries affected by the spread of the virus. informs Daily Mail, adding that “this is the largest outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa.” The first case in the UK was reported on May 7, 2022, and as of June 12, there were already revealed 470 cases.

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