Now that polio has been found in London’s sewage, British public health services are launching a vaccination campaign for children. In Belgium, the investigation of sewage is still running roughshod.
Health experts have said that it will keep waste water under monitoring after the detection of poliovirus in London – but added there was no immediate threat to Scottish youngsters.
Public Health Scotland (PHS) has been working with NHS boards on a precautionary basis to ensure optimal vaccine coverage and protection against polio and advising the public to ensure polio vaccines are up to date. Europe was declared polio-free in 2003, and the UK Health Security Agency has said no cases have been found.
However, the samples detected in London are linked to a polio vaccine used in other countries.
The virus, which can cause paralysis, has been found 116 times in London’s waste water since February.
Earlier this week, the JCVI has agreed that a supplementary inactivated polio vaccine booster campaign should be implemented for all children aged one-to-nine-years-old in London.
PHS confirmed that there are no immediate plans to run a similar catch up programme in Scotland at this time as the country has high vaccination uptake rates for all childhood immunisations and the JCVI has not advised the need for an IPV booster campaign outside of London.
Dr Nick Phin, clinical director of PHS said: “Regular wastewater monitoring on sewage samples from two sites in Glasgow has been carried out by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and there have been no recent detections of poliovirus. The risk to the public overall is extremely low. Scotland has high vaccination uptake rates that we need to maintain to reduce the risk of infections occurring.
“Parents of children born and raised in Scotland can check their child’s vaccination status in their Red Book or by calling their GP surgery.
“There is information on NHS Inform about how to get your vaccines if you or your child are not up-to-date. We strongly encourage parents and carers to ensure that children receive all recommended vaccinations as soon as they are eligible, including the pre-school booster as we look to start a new school year.”