Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2) was detected in London sewage samples during routine disease surveillance testing.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reported the virus was found in “multiple sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works between February and June 2022.” This plant spans a sizable portion of northeast London with about four million occupants.
Over the past few decades, worldwide efforts have nearly erased polio from existence. Since 1988, global polio cases have decreased ninety-nine percent.
Before, the disease plagued one hundred and twenty-five countries, resulting in over three hundred and fifty thousand cases.
The infectious disease can cause sore throat, fever, nausea, headaches, and stomach pain. It may also result in more severe symptoms, including meningitis and paralysis, according to the CDC.
So far, Britain has not reported any human cases of polio after detecting the environmental samples.
“No associated cases of paralysis have been detected,” the WHO underscored. Nonetheless, the organization also cautioned the public that “any form of poliovirus anywhere is a threat to children everywhere.”
In turn, the most crucial step is getting vaccinated. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) can replicate in your stomach and be passed on to others via contaminated fecal water.
So, if you are not vaccinated, you could potentially be infected.