A polio vaccine warning has been issued in the U.K after the virus was detected in the country for the first time in decades.
The virus was detected in sewage samples collected in east and north London, during routine surveillance, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a press release.
A national incident has now been declared in the country, as the agency warns citizens to ensure they are up to date with vaccinations.
“Investigation underway to protect public, who are urged to ensure polio vaccines are up to date, especially parents of young children who may have missed an immunization opportunity,” the statement said.
There are so far no reported cases of the disease and the risk to the wider public is considered low—however the virus can spread through contaminated food, water and poor hand hygiene.
UKHSA said that investigations are currently underway, to determine whether the virus is being transmitted into the community.
So far, scientists have determined that this virus has evolved into a “vaccine derived,” poliovirus type 2.
This strain of the virus can occasionally cause serious side effects, including paralysis. Vaccines, however, can reduce the risk.
Scientists believe it has likely spread through “closely-linked individuals” in the area, who are now shedding the virus in their feaces.
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