Polio sewage surveillance to take place in Preston

Posted on - 18th September, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston News
Sewer pipe bridge over the Ribble at Penwortham Pic: Tony Worrall
Sewer pipe bridge over the Ribble at Penwortham Pic: Tony Worral

Sewage sampling will take place in Preston to detect if poliovirus is spreading in the region, after samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works came back positive.


The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) working with the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are expanding the surveillance to a range of areas outside of London that are at most risk of the virus.

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Preston is among 19 areas included in the risk assessment which takes into consideration a number of factors.

Read more: The Larder’s community kitchen seeking to address food and fuel poverty in Preston

Population groups living in an area with links to countries overseas where wild poliovirus is still found and areas with low polio vaccination coverage, are some of the reasons as to why measures have been set in place.


The sewage sampling strategy will continue to be reviewed and adapted as new evidence emerges.

Nationally the overall risk of paralytic polio is considered low because most people are protected from this by vaccination.

Read more: Covid-19 booster vaccine rollout continues in Preston and Lancashire

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: “No cases of polio have been reported and for the majority of the population, who are fully vaccinated, the risk is low.

“We are now expanding the sewage sampling nationally to areas that are at highest risk of new poliovirus importations and areas most likely to see spread of poliovirus from London.

“We are in touch with public health colleagues in these areas and will work closely with local areas as the need arises.

“In the meantime it is vital parents across the country check their children are fully vaccinated for their age.”

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