People are being urged to ensure their polio vaccines are up to date after an outbreak of the virus was detected in UK sewage samples. Polio, which was officially eradicated in the UK in 2003, can cause paralysis in rare cases and can be life-threatening. Professor of Oncology, Angus Dalgleish, explained how the virus could mutate.
Speaking to GB News, Professor Dalgleish said: “These viruses occasionally come up once and that’s it but I think the fact it’s come up in February/April suggests that it could be spreading.
“It could mutate to become infectious.
“My reading of it is, it’s not that big of a concern to people who are vaccinated.
“This we must remember is our vaccine programme is very well-founded in decades of experience and very effective.
“The majority of people won’t need to worry about it.”
It comes as thousands of children across England – and particularly in London – are not fully protected against polio, data shows.
Official figures analysed by the PA news agency show that of the 693,928 children in England aged five in 2020/21, some 592,191 (85.3 percent) had received their polio booster by their fifth birthday while 101,737 (14.7 percent) had not.
Around a third of all these unprotected five-year-olds were in London (34,105).
The regional percentages of five-year-olds who had not received their booster ranged from 8.4 percent in north-east England to 27.4 percent in London.
In south-west England, 10.3 percent did not get their booster (usually given at the age of three years and four months), and 10.4 percent of those in eastern England did not.
The figures were 10.8 percent in Yorkshire and the Humber, 11.4 percent in the South East and 12.3 percent in the East Midlands.
Some 13.8 percent in north-west England also did not get a booster, alongside 15.1 percent in the West Midlands, according to the data from NHS Digital and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).