Aug 10, 2022 - Health

London children offered polio booster vaccine as more virus detected

The Tower of London is lit up purple with the slogan 'End Polio Now' in 2021.
The Tower of London is lit up purple with the slogan 'End Polio Now' in 2021. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Image

Children in London were offered booster doses of the polio vaccine Wednesday after British health authorities discovered more virus samples throughout the city.

The big picture: Poliovirus has been recently detected in multiple countries , prompting health officials to act in order to curb the spread.

Driving the news: The U.K. Health Security Agency said it had discovered a positive sample of the poliovirus in eight boroughs throughout London suggesting a level of spread. No specific cases were identified.

  • UKHSA said Wednesday that all children in London 1-9 years old should get a polio vaccine booster dose now to stay protected.
  • "This will ensure a high level of protection from paralysis and help reduce further spread of the virus," UKHSA said.

Be smart: The risk for paralytic polio across the U.K. remains low due to high vaccination numbers, the UKHSA said.

State of play: The levels of spread in London are a hint "that there is some level of virus transmission in these boroughs which may extend to the adjacent areas," UKSHA said.

  • "This suggests that transmission has gone beyond a close network of a few individuals."

Flashback: U.K. health officials discovered polio samples in sewage for the first time in nearly 20 years back at the end of June, Axios previously reported.

  • Officials said this meant there was likely a spread of a "vaccine-derived" polio virus between close contacts in London.
  • In rare cases, the live polio virus in an oral vaccine can mutate and cause a new outbreak, AP reported at the time.

Meanwhile, New York health officials confirmed the first case of polio in the United States in almost a decade. Officials urged New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

Go deeper ... First U.S. case of polio in decades discovered in New York

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