Polio (aka poliomyelitis) is a life-threatening disease that can spread from one person to another. It can cause paralysis by infecting the spinal cord. In the UK, a single case of polio wasn’t discovered for almost four decades until now. Sewer samples from London have been proven to contain the polio virus in 2022, triggering a health emergency.
The authorities are obviously concerned that community transmission could ignite, which is why investigations are underway. WION, the World in One News, brought the information of the poliovirus coming back to the UK after almost 40 years:
1984 was the last year the UK reported a case of polio, and the country had officially eradicated the disease by 2003. The samples found in 2022 in sewage that contain polio could belong to the northern and eastern parts of the capital, London.
If it will be confirmed that community transmission of polio has begun, the National Health Service of the UK could demand vaccinations for children below the age of 5 years old.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist who studies the disease at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said, as npr.org quotes:
It sounds like the outbreak is very small,
The outbreak could be within an extended family. Transmission would require a concentration of people who had not yet been vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also tells us a few important stuff regarding the symptoms of polio. First of all, most of those who contract the polio virus will not deal with any visible symptoms: roughly 72 individuals out of 100, to be more precise. One in four individuals who become infected will manifest symptoms that can make their condition easily confused with the flu, such as fever, sore throat, headaches, nausea, stomach pain, and tiredness. An even smaller proportion of individuals than one out of 100 who get polio will develop symptoms that affect the spinal cord and brain, such as paralysis, meningitis, and paresthesia.