Poliovirus returns to the UK after nearly 40 years: current efforts and future recommendations

Postgrad Med J. 2022 Nov;98(1165):816-819. doi: 10.1136/pmj-2022-142103. Epub 2022 Sep 19.


On 22 June 2022, the UK Health Security Agency declared a 'rare national incidence' after finding poliovirus in sewage in London for the first time in nearly 40 years. Although no cases of the disease or accompanying paralysis have been documented, the general public's risk is considered minimal. However, public health experts recommend that families are up to date on their polio vaccines to decrease the chance of harm. This article discusses the epidemiology of poliovirus by examining the aetiology of the disease and current mitigation policies implemented to prevent the spread of type 2 vaccine-deceived poliovirus in the UK. Finally, by examining the clinical features of polio, which range from mild gastroenteritis episodes, respiratory sickness, malaise and severe paralysis type, this article offers an advice on particular therapies and tactics to avoid poliovirus outbreaks and other future outbreaks.

Keywords: EPIDEMIOLOGY; Health policy; Public health; VIROLOGY.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Paralysis
  • Poliomyelitis* / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis* / prevention & control
  • Poliovirus*
  • Sewage
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Sewage