Last week, we received confirmation of the isolation of vaccine-derived polio type 2 (VDPV2) from environmental samples in London, UK from a sewage treatment plant which covers a large catchment area across north and east London and a population of close to four million. Genetic analysis indicates that this is not a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.
Coverage for routine immunisation, including polio, in London is 86.6%.
A national standard incident has been declared by the UK Health Security Agency and an Incident Management Team established to coordinate ongoing investigations and response.
While of concern, we are confident that the UK government is urgently addressing the situation and note that this underscores that while the poliovirus circulates anywhere in the world it is a threat to children everywhere. Our ongoing fundraising, advocacy and awareness raising efforts are critical to stopping poliovirus transmission.
Chair, International PolioPlus Committee
Further information on this story can also be found on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative website.