LONDON: Polio has recently been discovered in London’s sewers leading British public health authorities to launch a vaccination campaign for children. In Belgium, the findings have prompted an investigation into the nation’s sewage system to see if the country is at risk, as per the sources.
In 2003, the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom, were declared free from polio. Currently, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not confirmed any infections, and the risk remains low.
But the agency wants to be cautious and aims to get children between the ages of one and nine to get a vaccination, with a vaccination campaign targeting almost a million children.
The Rega Institute of KU Leaven has carried out tests on the sewage system in Leuven. But the institute has now tested for polio on a weekly basis with the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, given that Ukraine has an on average lower vaccination rate.
Along with this, the rest of Belgium must wait for the results from Belgium’s Health Institute Sciensano, which has samples from all of Belgium’s sewage networks. The Ministry of Public Health asked Sciensano to carry out tests some time ago.
The oral polio vaccine is safe and provides high immunity, but sometimes the virus mutates, which can cause disease and then spread to areas where individuals are not sufficiently protected.
Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the globe thanks to many vaccination campaigns. London has informed the World Health Organisation because of the severity of the disease and low vaccination rates.
Furthermore, in Belgium, some 93.6 percent of the population have been vaccinated against polio. Most people have been vaccinated as well as are safe, including children who arrived in the nation as well as who are given a vaccine. But there may be a risk for unvaccinated, which has made the health institutes vigilant.