No cases of polio have been identified so far, but health officials urged those who were not fully immunized to seek vaccines immediately.
Health authorities in Britain have declared a national incident after finding evidence suggesting local spread of poliovirus in London.
Although health authorities indicated that the use of the term “national incident” was used to outline the scope of the issue, no cases of polio have been identified so far, and the risk to the public is low. But health authorities urged anyone who is not fully immunized against poliovirus, particularly young children, to immediately seek vaccines.
“Most of the U.K. population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk,” said Dr. Vanessa Saliba, a consultant epidemiologist for the U.K. Health Security Agency.
The last case of polio in Britain was in 1984, and the country was declared polio-free in 2003. Before the introduction of the polio vaccine, epidemics were common in Britain, with up to 8,000 cases of paralysis reported every year.