Dear Concerned Patient/Parent,
There have been recent concerns regarding Polio following the isolation of the vaccine-like type 2 poliovirus (PV2) in three sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works on the 8th February, 12th April and 26th April 2022.
It is thought that these sample cases originated from an individual from a country where Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is being used for supplementary immunisation campaigns, and arrived here in February 2022. Healthy people that have been vaccinated will commonly shed polio vaccine virus for a few weeks and up to 60 days post-immunisation. Some individuals, such as those that are immunosuppressed can shed poliovirus indefinitely.
This oral version of the Polio vaccine was used in the UK until 2004 and in most parts of the world until 2016. It is now only used by a handful of countries worldwide, as a supplementary programme to help control outbreaks.
There have been no reported cases of Polio in the UK nor has there been for the past 40 years. In Europe there has not been a case since 1998.
Though the recent samples may be concerning the transmission risk is very low and at this stage more theoretical.
Polio mainly affects children under the age of 6 years. So we are proactively searching these patients records to ensure their immunisations are up to date. We will contact patients where this is unclear or the immunisation status appears incomplete to book a vaccination.
If your child is up to date with their vaccines then no further action is required.
If your child has had their immunisations abroad and we do not have records of this we will ask for them. If you do not have any records and are unsure if they have had their age specific full immunisations then we will assume they have not and support you to obtain their appropriate vaccinations.
We are unable to provide any vaccines earlier than when they are due nor is it indicated or required. We will continue to follow the national immunisation schedule unless advised otherwise.
Please do not panic or worry and do wait for us to contact you over the next few days.
We take this opportunity to encourage everyone to have all their usual immunisations to ensure such diseases remain eradicated. As is demonstrated in this case, this is most pertinent for young children.
Published: Jun 23, 2022
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