Polio, the disease that causes paralysis, was officially eradicated in the UK in 2003 and the last domestic outbreak was in the 1970s. However, a lack of immunization has caused polio to return around the world
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A health investigation has been launched to trace the source of the polio virus found in raw sewage samples in London earlier this year, sparking concerns the infectious disease is on the rise again.
Polio has existed since human history and dates back to ancient Egypt.
The cause of the recent global resurgence is largely due to falling vaccination rates, which have allowed the disease to creep back.
Polio is caused by a virus that spreads easily when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It can also be caught by food or water that has come in contact with the feces of a person who has the virus.
Kripen Dhrona, CEO of the British Polio Scholarshipspoke exclusively to the mirror to discuss what this return could mean for all of us and to explain more about the vaccination program.
Polio in London – how concerned should we be?
“While we have something to worry about, I don’t want people to panic unduly,” Mr. Dhrona began.
“The public health risk is very small, but by promoting polio vaccination we can ensure that risk remains low.
“The fight to eradicate polio has been ongoing since the 1950s, but this incident shows that we must not be complacent and remain vigilant.”
When asked about vaccination against polio, Kripen said: “Polio will not be defeated until all traces of the virus are eradicated, and the only way we can do that is by continuing the vaccination program.
“I urge the Government to ensure that health services in the UK have the resources they need to ensure vaccine needs can be met.”
Polio can have a devastating impact not only on individuals but also on communities.
What is the polio vaccination plan?
“Anyone moving to the UK would normally provide proof of vaccination status and if they did not already have a polio vaccine they would be offered one on arrival,” he explained.
“We need to make sure there is at least 95% adoption of the vaccine.”
He further explained how polio is part of the children’s immunization program and offered the following:
- At eight, 12 and 16 weeks of age as part of the 6-in-1 vaccination
- At three years and four months as part of the 4-in-1 (DTaP/IPV) preschool booster
- Aged 14 as part of the 3-in-1 (Td/IPV) Teen Booster
Regarding polio symptoms and how the virus affects a person, Kripen said: “Polio passes with mild flu-like symptoms in most people, but for a small percentage it can be much more serious, leading to a range of paralytic, muscular weakness.” and respiratory impairments.
“Polio can be fatal in a small number of cases.
“However, the virus can affect people in different ways as stated above and people should seek medical advice when in doubt.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/polio-risk-could-soar-parents-27312278 Polio risk could rise if parents and children are not vaccinated, expert warns