Amid Spreading Polio Virus, Britain Kickstarts Booster Campaign For Kids Under 10 Years: Report

Amid Spreading Polio Virus, Britain Kickstarts Booster Campaign For Kids Under 10 Years: Report
  • Reuters reported that the polio virus is spreading in London for the first time since the 1980s, so the country has launched a polio vaccine booster campaign for children in London aged below 10.
  • The U.K. Health Security Agency identified 116 polioviruses from 19 sewage samples this year in London. It first raised the alert on finding the virus in sewage samples in June.
  • The agency said that the levels of poliovirus found since and the genetic diversity indicated that transmission was taking place in several London boroughs.
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  • No cases have yet been identified, but GPs will invite children aged 1-9 for booster vaccines to avoid a potential outbreak.
  • Polio spreads mainly through contamination by fecal matter.
  • The virus found in London sewage is mainly the vaccine-like virus, which is found when children vaccinated with a particular kind of live vaccine - now only used overseas - shed the virus in their feces. 
  • This harmless virus can transmit among unvaccinated children and mutate into a more dangerous version to cause illness.
  • Britain is also expanding surveillance for polio to other sites outside London to see if the virus has spread further.

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