Urgent polio boosters advised for London children
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced that all children aged 1-9 years regardless of previous immunisation status are recommended a polio vaccine booster from all London boroughs.
The virus, which can cause paralysis, has been found 116 times in London’s waste water between February and July this year.
In the UK, the overall risk of paralytic polio is considered low because most people are protected from this by vaccination. However, due to the recent discovery of type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus in sewage in multiple locations in London, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have advised that booster vaccinations in all children aged 1-9 years is an appropriate course of action.
The UKHSA says most of the samples detected are the safe vaccine form of polio, but “a few” have mutated enough to be considered dangerous.
Parents should seek the polio vaccine booster as soon as possible – even if their child is up-to-date with their childhood vaccinations.
The aim is two-fold; to ensure a high level of protection from polio paralysis and help reduce further spread of the polio virus across London and beyond.
Booster Polio Vaccinations at Fleet Street Clinic
We offer two vaccinations in-clinic that offer protection from Polio:
Revaxis Vaccine: Suitable for children from 6 years and above
Protects against: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio
Cost: £47 + £20 appointment fee
Call to book
Repevax Vaccine: Suitable for children from 3 years and above
Protects against: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio & Whooping Cough
Cost: £69 + £20 appointment fee
Call to book
Both of these vaccinations are inactivated, and given by injection. They are both licensed as booster doses, and are not intended for primary immunisation.
More information on the Polio vaccines available at Fleet Street Clinic, click here.
Primary Polio Vaccination
Unfortunately, we do not offer the infant/ baby vaccination for Polio – in the UK this would be the Infanrix-Hexa, the 6-in-1 vaccine. We have no suitable vaccination for children under the age of 3, or for those requiring their primary immunisation against Polio.
Please contact your NHS doctor or an alternative provider to see if they can help you further.
Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:
“It is vital parents ensure their children are fully vaccinated for their age. Following JCVI advice all children aged 1 to 9 years in London need to have a dose of polio vaccine now – whether it’s an extra booster dose or just to catch up with their routine vaccinations. It will ensure a high level of protection from paralysis. This may also help stop the virus spreading further.”
More information on Polio and the emerging London findings:
What is Polio?
Polio is a serious viral infection that is transmitted through the stool’s of an infected person through contaminated water, food or surfaces. It can cause unpleasant flu-like symptoms and in severe cases, cause paralysis.
What are the symptoms of Polio?
The majority of people with the infection have no symptoms but some feel as if they have the flu, with:
- high temperature
- sore throat
- abdominal pain
In severe cases of polio, the virus can attack the nerves in the spine and brain which can cause paralysis. In some cases, it can cause persistent or lifelong difficulties and even be life-threatening.
Where has Polio been found?
According to the UKHSA statement, in addition to the findings earlier this year of type 2 poliovirus (PV2) collected from the Beckton sewage treatment works, further upstream sampling undertaken by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now identified at least one positive sample of the poliovirus, currently present in parts of the following boroughs:
- Waltham Forest
The sampling has also detected the virus in lower concentrations and frequency in areas adjacent to the Beckton catchment area to the South (immediately below the Thames) and to the east of Beckton. However, it is not clear whether the virus has established itself in these areas or if the detections are due to people from the affected area visiting these neighbouring areas.
How many cases of Polio have been identified?
To date, again based on the UKHSA statement, ‘a total of 116 PV2 isolates have been identified in 19 sewage samples collected in London between 8 February and 5 July this year’.
A further 15 sites in London will start sewage sampling in mid-August, and 10 to 15 sites will be stood up nationally to determine if poliovirus is spreading outside of London.
To book your child’s Polio Booster Vaccination, call +44 20 7353 5678 today.
The Southern African nation, Mozambique is gaining popularity amongst the adventure traveller community. Often referred to as ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, it is well off the usual tourist trail of Africa. Mozambique offers rustic beaches, delightful architecture, superb national parks, and plenty of diving opportunities.
Many choose to start their adventure exploring the capital city, Maputo. It is easy to understand why. It is rich in culture with beautifully preserved Portuguese colonial architecture. You could easily spend a week enjoying the hospitality of the friendly locals, eating the delicious food and partying the night away. Maputo is a largely-underestimated African capital city.
Mozambique is also known for having some of the most pristine dive sites in the world. Tofo is arguably one of the greatest places on Earth to see megafauna marine life. Crystal clear water provides perfect visibility to view the abundant marine life. The beautiful tropical Islands of the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos are some of the most romantic and secluded beach destinations in the world – ideal for honeymooners.
Whatever your holiday entails, ensure you read out top travel tips to stay healthy in Mozambique.
Travellers should ensure they are up-to-date with their routine immunisations including measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and diphtheria-tetanus and polio (DTP). Additional travel vaccinations are advised including hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies and hepatitis B. It’s best to speak with a travel nurse about any specific travel vaccinations you may need in a pre-travel consultation.
…What about Yellow Fever?
Yellow Fever is a viral haemorrhagic illness spread from the infected bite of the Aedes mosquito. Whilst it can occur in parts of Africa, there is no risk of Yellow Fever in Mozambique. Therefore, travellers do not need to be vaccinated.
The only exception to this will be for travellers who are entering Mozambique from a country which does have a risk of the illness. In this case, it is best to speak to a travel nurse to see if you require the vaccine. If you do, you will need to be in possession of a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate as a condition of entry. Ask your travel health specialist for advice.
Polio is a viral infection. As it is contagious, you can get polio from contact with an infected person. In addition, consuming food or water that has been contaminated by a person with poliovirus also puts you at risk. There has been a worldwide effort to eliminate polio, which is proving highly successful. However, Mozambique still remains at risk due to vaccinate-derived circulating strains. All travellers should ensure they are up-to-date with their polio immunisation. The polio vaccine is a combination vaccination, given with diphtheria and tetanus. It provides protection for 10 years.
If you plan to stay for longer than 4 consecutive weeks, it’s advised that your polio vaccine be administered within the last 12-months. You should also have the dose recorded on an International certificate of vaccination prophylaxis card as proof of immunisation. Furthermore, long-term travellers to Mozambique may be required to show this when they leave the country, as proof they have been immunised.
All of Mozambique has a risk of malaria. Malaria is an infection spread by the Anopheles mosquitoes which are most active during dusk till dawn. You should take strict precautions against mosquito bites. This includes wearing long loose clothing and using an insect repellent with a minimum of 50% DEET. You can reduce the risk of indoor mosquito activity with the use of plug-in vaporisers. Plus, sleeping under a mosquito net can help reduce night-time bites.
We recommend taking antimalarial medication for the duration of your trip. As there are different options available, it’s best to speak to a travel nurse to find the best option for you and your family.
See our Ultimate Bug Kit.
Special precautions post-Cyclone Idai
Cyclone Idai battered the coast of Mozambique on the 9th March 2019. The storms brought heavy rains, winds and flooding. As a result of the initial impact alone, there were hundreds of fatalities. The storm created many serious health risks. Firstly, like most natural disasters, the storm has displaced a huge number of local people. Which as a result, will increase the risk of diseases spreading. Secondly, it has placed a strain on the countries structural and health infrastructure. Which as a result, and can lead to further flooding and increases the risk of water-borne infections such as cholera. Thirdly, the increase of water has led to an increase in breeding sites for mosquitoes. Therefore, there is an increased risk of malaria and other mosquito-transferred diseases.
Although the risk for tourists will be much lower than that of the local population, extra precautions to avoid infectious diseases should be taken. You should pay extra attention to the food and water hygiene you consume. This will minimise the risk of you getting a diarrhoeal illness.
If you are travelling to an area with a known outbreak, the Cholera vaccine can be considered. Similarly, those undertaking humanitarian work or those with inadequate access to safe water and sanitation should also consider the vaccine.
By Anna Chapman | Travel Nurse | July 2019