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Polio virus detected in London sewage samples: WHO

"Any form of poliovirus anywhere is a threat to children everywhere."

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Polio virus detected in London sewage samples: WHO
GNN Media: Representational Photo

London: A type of poliovirus derived from vaccines has been detected in London sewage samples, the World Health Organization and British health officials said Wednesday, adding that more analysis was underway.

No human cases of polio have been found in Britain, where the crippling disease was fully eradicated two decades ago.

The WHO said in a statement that "type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2)" had been found in environmental samples in the British capital.

"It is important to note that the virus has been isolated from environmental samples only," it said, stressing that "no associated cases of paralysis have been detected."

But it warned, "any form of poliovirus anywhere is a threat to children everywhere."

A massive global effort has in recent decades come close to wiping out polio, a crippling and potentially fatal viral disease that mainly affects children under the age of five.

Cases have decreased by 99 percent since 1988, when polio was endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide.

The wild version of the virus now exists only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but a type of vaccine that contains small amounts of weakened but live polio still causes occasional outbreaks elsewhere.

- 'Check vaccination histories' -

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) replicates in the gut and can be passed to others through faecal-contaminated water -- meaning it won't hurt the child who has been vaccinated but could infect their neighbours in places where hygiene and immunisation levels are low.

While weaker than wild poliovirus, this variant can cause serious illness and paralysis in people not vaccinated against the disease.

Globally, there were 959 confirmed cases of VDPV2 in 2020, according to the WHO.

Polio eradication expert Kathlene O'Reilly warned Wednesday that the discovery in the London sewage samples suggests "there may be localised spread of poliovirus, most likely within individuals that are not up to date with polio immunisations".

"The most effective way to prevent further spread is to check vaccination histories, especially of young children, to check that polio vaccination is included," she said.

Polio immunisation coverage in London stands at nearly 87 percent, the WHO said.

The UN's health agency has called for OPV to be phased out worldwide and replaced with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).

Britain stopped using OPV in 2004, and British health authorities said it was likely that the virus found in the sewage samples had been imported by someone who was recently vaccinated with it abroad.

'We are not isolated' -

David Elliman, a consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital said parents sometimes ask why vaccines continue to be given against diseases that have been eliminated in the UK, like polio.

"The answer is that, although we are an island, we are not isolated from the rest of the world, which means diseases could be brought in from abroad," he said.

"The finding of vaccine-derived polio virus in sewage proves the point."

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the virus isolates had been found in "multiple sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works between February and June 2022."

The plant covers a large swathe of north and east London that is home to around four million people.

A couple of poliovirus isolates are detected each year on average in UK sewage samples, but they tend to be unrelated, health authorities said, warning that in this case, the isolates were "genetically related".

"This has prompted the need to investigate the extent of transmission of this virus in northeast London," UKHSA said.

SOURCE: AFP

Regional

Cop martyred in KP grenade blast 

The injured have been shifted to the nearby hospital.

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Cop martyred in KP grenade blast 

Peshawar: In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one police personnel was martyred while four others including two citizens got severely injured in a hand grenade blast on a Police check post in Mardan on Thursday.

According to Rescue 1122, the injured have been shifted to the nearby hospital.

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has strongly condemned the incident and sought a report in this regard from the Police authorities.

He directed the authorities concerned to take necessary steps for immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the incident.

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Pakistan

More showers during Eidul Azha holidays: PMD

Monsoon currents are continuously penetrating the country

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More showers during Eidul Azha holidays: PMD

Islamabad: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) is predicting more showers during the Eidul Azha holidays.

According to the Met Office, monsoon currents are continuously penetrating the country and are likely to weaken during the next 24 hours, however, it may strengthen over the weekend.

Under the influence of current weather system more rains and thundershowers have been forecast in Islamabad, Kashmir, Swat, Mansehra, Kohistan, Abbottabad, Haripur, Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Kurram, Kohat, Mianwali, Sargodha, Hafizabad, M. B Din, Rawalpindi, Murree, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Sialkot, Narowal, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Jhang, Sahiwal, Okara from July 9 to July 12 with occasional gap.

Isolated showers are also expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Thatta, Badin, Zhob, Ziarat, Barkhan, Loralai, Bolan, Kohlu, Quetta, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbella, Awaran, Naseerabad, Sibbi, Panjgur, Turbat between July 8 and July 9.

Heavy falls may generate urban flooding in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot.

Thundershowers may trigger landslides in Kashmir, Galiyat, Murree, Chillas, Diamir, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore and Skardu.

Travelers and tourists are advised to remain extra cautious during the forecast period.

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Pakistan

45 people die in flash flooding in Balochistan: PDMA

The Meteorological Department has forecast more rain in Quetta.

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45 people die in flash flooding in Balochistan: PDMA

Quetta: PDMA has issued a report on Thursday that states that 45 people lost their lives in different incidents as torrential rains caused destruction in different parts of Balochistan including Quetta.

Deaths occurred in Bolan, Quetta, Zhob, Duki, Khuzdar, Kohlu, Kech, Mastung, Harnai, Qila Saifullah, and Sibi. An emergency has been declared in Quetta.

As per PDMA, 47 people got injured in different rain-related incidents. Collectively, at least 241 houses are destroyed in the province.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has forecast more rain in Quetta.

On the other hand, workers of FWO are removing debris from Jeglote-Skardu road at Mehdiabad and Astsk Nalla which was damaged by flash floods and landsliding on Wednesday.

Rescue and relief activities are going on in Sher Qailla, Ghizer where a high flash flood-affected adjacent village last night.

Teams of district administration preparing losses assessment report to provide relief to affectees.   

Chief Minister Muhammad Khalid Khursheed directed the home department to set up a control room to monitor the flood situation.

He also directed to rescue famous mountaineer Sheroz Kashif and his companion from Nanga Parbat.

 

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