Explainer: Why has polio been found in London, New York and Jerusalem, and how dangerous is it?

Explainer: Why has polio been found in London, New York and Jerusalem, and how dangerous is it?

Explainer: Why has polio been present in London, New York and Jerusalem, and the way harmful is it?

LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Polio, an epidemic that crippled tens of hundreds of youngsters yearly, is spreading to London, New York and Jerusalem for the primary time in many years, spurring catch-up vaccination campaigns . Learn extra


Poliomyelitis terrified dad and mom around the globe in the course of the first half of the twentieth century. Primarily affecting kids below the age of 5, it’s typically asymptomatic however may also trigger signs comparable to fever and vomiting. About one in 200 infections results in irreversible paralysis, and of those sufferers, as much as 10% die.

There isn’t any treatment, however since a vaccine was discovered within the Fifties, poliomyelitis has been fully preventable. Globally, the wild type of the illness has just about disappeared.

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Afghanistan and Pakistan at the moment are the one international locations the place the extremely contagious illness, transmitted primarily by means of contact with feces, stays endemic. However this yr imported circumstances have additionally been present in Malawi and Mozambique, the primary in these international locations for the reason that Nineteen Nineties. Learn extra


There are two primary types of poliovirus. Moreover the wild sort described above, there are additionally uncommon circumstances of so-called vaccine-derived poliomyelitis.

That is the second type detected in sewage from the British capital, London, and New York in the US, with a case of paralysis reported in New York State. A genetically related virus has additionally been present in Jerusalem, Israel, and scientists are working to grasp the hyperlink, the World Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) stated.

Whereas vaccine-derived polio is nearly unparalleled within the above places, it’s a identified – albeit uncommon – menace in different international locations, inflicting outbreaks annually, together with 415 circumstances in Nigeria. in 2021.

It outcomes from the usage of an oral poliomyelitis vaccine containing a weakened reside virus. After being vaccinated, kids excrete the virus of their stool for a couple of weeks. In under-vaccinated communities, this may then unfold and switch right into a dangerous model of the virus.

Whereas international locations like Britain and the US not use this reside vaccine, others do – significantly to cease outbreaks – permitting international unfold, particularly when individuals have began to touring after COVID-19, specialists stated.


However specialists agree that the principle driver of vaccine-derived and wild polio epidemics stays under-vaccinated populations, stated Derek Ehrhardt, international head of polio at the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC). United States.

Vaccine hesitancy was a rising drawback earlier than the pandemic, then COVID-19 prompted the worst disruption to routine vaccination in a technology, based on the United Nations. Learn extra

In 2020, there have been 1,081 circumstances of vaccine-derived polio, about 3 times greater than the earlier yr. In 2022 thus far, there have been 177 circumstances, after main efforts to restart polio vaccination campaigns.

However the sewage findings are nonetheless a wake-up name for fogeys with a key message, based on scientists around the globe, together with David Heymann, an epidemiologist on the London College of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs: defend kids by making them vaccinate.

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Reporting by Jennifer Rigby Enhancing by Mark Heinrich

Our requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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