U.K. health officials find poliovirus in London wastewater

Stat News | 23 Jan

Here’s an item from STAT’s infectious disease reporter, Helen Branswell: Health authorities in the United Kingdom said Wednesday they have been finding polioviruses in London wastewater. The viruses, discovered between February and May, are so-called vaccine-derived polioviruses — viruses from the oral polio vaccine used in some parts of the world, though not in the U.K. The viruses in the vaccine have been weakened, but they can spread from person to person and, over time, can regain the power to paralyze if they infect a person who is not fully vaccinated. According to the U.K. Health Security Agency, analyses of the viruses suggest they may have been spreading among closely linked individuals in North and East London, suggesting parents of children under the age of 5 should check to see if their kids have received all necessary polio vaccine doses. Wastewater surveillance has long been used to look for polioviruses as part of the global polio eradication effort, as Helen wrote in The Atlantic a decade ago.

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