Health minister finds first polio outbreak in decades, urgent warning to all parents – Liku

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Parents have been urged to check their children’s medical records after the UK’s health chief discovered polio.

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the country since 1984.

Britons should check that their children’s vaccines are up to date after signs of the virus spreading between individuals, the health chief said.

In the UK, the polio vaccine is part of the NHS’s routine childhood vaccination programme.

Use it as a jab when your child is 8, 12, and 16 weeks old. Two more injections at 3 years and 4 months and 14 years.

In London, however, one in 10 five-year-olds is not fully vaccinated against the bug.

First case of polio found in Africa in 5 years as toddler becomes paralyzed

Experts have now found the bug in sewage samples in the capital, where it has been present since April – a clear sign of a community outbreak.

UKHSA Consultant Epidemiology Dr Vanessa Saliba said: “Vaccine-derived polioviruses are rare and the overall risk to the public is extremely low.

“Vaccine-derived polioviruses have the potential to spread, especially in communities with low vaccination rates.

“In rare cases it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated, so if you or your child is not vaccinated against polio on time, be sure to contact your GP to find out, or if you are unsure , please check your Red Book.”

Polio is an infectious disease that can spread from person to person, most commonly in children under the age of five.

The disease attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis in some extreme cases.

It is so contagious that a person can spread it even if they are not sick.

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The last polio case in the UK occurred in 1984, and the country was declared polio-free in 2003.

Before vaccines were introduced in the 1950s, epidemics paralyzed thousands and killed hundreds of people each year.

What are the signs of polio you need to know about?

Most people infected with the polio virus do not have any noticeable symptoms.

About one in four people with poliovirus infection experience flu-like symptoms that may include:

  • sore throat
  • fever
  • tired
  • nausea
  • headache
  • Stomachache

Symptoms usually last two to ten days and then go away on their own.

In rare cases, polio can make it difficult to use your muscles, usually your legs.

This is usually not permanent, and exercise should slowly return over the next few weeks or months.

Experts from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) believe that travellers who may have come from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Nigeria may have shed the virus in their faeces after receiving the oral polio vaccine.

But the bug has now spread to others after mutating, and the same strain has been detected repeatedly in sewage samples since May.

The head of the health department has now launched an urgent investigation to identify the source and boost vaccinations in the affected areas.

Despite clear evidence of an outbreak, no cases have yet emerged.

Officials insist the overall risk to the public remains low.

Jane Clegg, chief nurse of the NHS London, said: “Most Londoners are fully protected against polio and no further action is required, but the NHS will start reaching out to parents of children under five in London. Polio vaccinations are not timely people who are vaccinated against inflammatory disease, ask them to be protected.

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“At the same time, parents can also check their child’s vaccination status on their Red Book, and if they or their child is not fully updated, people should contact their GP clinic to book a vaccination appointment.”

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