London, traces of poliovirus found in the city’s wastewater. The disease has been considered eradicated for 40 years

After the covid and the smallpox of the monkeys, another virus returns to scare: that of the poliomyelitis. The disease has come back to peep in Europe forty years after his death. There Uk Heath Security Agency (Ukhsa) in collaboration with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (Mhra) found the poliovirus in wastewater from London. To be precise, the samples were collected in Beckton Sewage Treatment Worksa wastewater treatment plant located in the north and east of the English metropolis between February and March 2022.

The United Kingdom was declared polio-free in 2003 and the last case of the wild form of the virus dates back to 1984. But now the country could risk the revocation of the status “polio free “. According to theUkhsa “These cases are linked to people vaccinated with Opv, the polio vaccine ”. Investigations are still ongoing, apparently “the virus has continued to evolve and is now classified as a type 2 poliovirus (Vdpv2) derived from a vaccine. On rare occasions it can lead to serious illnesses such as paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated ”. Whether community transmission is taking place remains to be seen. The problem is that vaccine-derived poliovirus, which originates from live, attenuated viruses contained in the oral vaccine against the disease, can trigger epidemics. According to Vanessa Saliba, epidemiologist from Ukhsa: “Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk for people of contracting it is extremely low as most of the UK population is protected.” Roberto Burioniphysician and professor of microbiology and virology at the San Raffaele University of Milan, wrote about Twitter: “It’s bad news.” And to those who have not yet vaccinated against polio, he added: “If you have had the bad idea not to vaccinate your children (or you are not vaccinated), do it immediately”.

For its part, WHO issued a reassurance: “WHO Europe is aware of the vaccine-derived poliovirus detected in samples in wastewater in London. Thanks to vaccination, the risk for citizens remains low. WHO is working closely with the British authorities ”. Thus in a tweet from the World Health Organization which refers to The Global Polio Laboratory Network (Gpln). “It is important that all countries, especially those with a high volume of travel and contacts with nations and areas affected by polio – explains the Gpln on its page – strengthen surveillance to quickly detect any new virus imports and facilitate a response. rapid “. The experts of the LPG, in any case, warn: “Any form of poliovirus everywhere is a threat to children all over the world”.

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