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Home / News / Polio virus found in parts of London, alerts UKHSA; boosters to all children below 9
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After evidence showed that polio virus has spread in several parts of London, British health authorities on Wednesday announced to make all children in the age group of 1-9 for booster doses to fight against the virus. The health authorities, however, confirmed that they have ‘found no cases of the paralytic disease in people.’

In a statement, Britain's Health Security Agency said, it detected viruses derived from the oral polio vaccine in the sewage water of eight London boroughs. The agency's analysis of the virus samples suggested “transmission has gone beyond a close network of a few individuals."

The agency said that so far no infected persons have been identified and the drive to offer young children boosters is basically a precautionary measure.

“This will ensure a high level of protection from paralysis and help reduce further spread," the agency said.

The agency said it is also expanding surveillance of sewage water to at least another 25 sites in London and nationally.

The Health Security Agency said it was working closely with health authorities at WHO and in the United States and Israel to investigate any links to polio viruses detected in those two countries. As per WHO, only one in 200 polio infections leads to paralysis; most people don't show any symptoms.

Virus in London “genetically related" to cases found in US, Israel

Kathleen O'Reilly, a polio expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the polio virus circulating in London was “genetically related" to recent cases identified in the U.S. and Israel.

“Further investigation is needed to fully understand how they are connected, but it does illustrate that this virus has the potential to cause disease," O'Reilly said in a statement.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

Initial symptoms for the polio virus include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and muscle stiffness. Among people paralyzed by the disease, death can occur in up to 10% of cases when their breathing muscles become paralyzed.

In rare cases, the live virus contained in the oral polio vaccine used in the global effort to eradicate the disease can mutate into new forms potent enough to trigger new outbreaks. It is a disease often spread in water that mostly affects children under 5.

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