Health · July 24, 2022

Poliovirus Infections in Wastewater: Should We Be Concerned?

Polio is a highly infectious disease that can be transmitted through person-to-person contact or by consuming contaminated food or water. Outbreaks have occurred frequently throughout history and are often the result of low immunization rates among the population. Polio outbreaks have been recorded since ancient times, with the fifth century documenting the first documented outbreak in history.
An acute illness, polio only lasts a few days and most individuals recover completely from the virus with no long-term consequences. However, in some cases it may lead to permanent paralysis or even death. It is estimated that every year almost half a million people contract polio globally and about 10% of those patients succumb to the disease.

The WHO has been working towards eradicating polio for several years now, but until recently they were unable to identify any strains of poliovirus that are harmless to humans and cannot mutate again into an infectious strain. The WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eradicate polio completely by 2020 and protect everyone against this disease for good. In addition, as part of their efforts to prevent another outbreak like the one in 2014, many countries have begun monitoring for new cases of wild poliovirus through sewage systems.

 

Poliovirus Infections in Wastewater: Should We Be Concerned?

Polio is a highly infectious disease that can be transmitted through person-to-person contact or by consuming contaminated food or water. Outbreaks have occurred frequently throughout history and are often the result of low immunization rates among the population. Polio outbreaks have been recorded since ancient times, with the fifth century documenting the first documented outbreak in history. An acute illness, polio only lasts a few days and most individuals recover completely from the virus with no long-term consequences. However, in some cases it may lead to permanent paralysis or even death. It is estimated that every year almost half a million people contract polio globally and about 10% of those patients succumb to the disease. The WHO has been working towards eradicating polio for several years now, but until recently they were unable to identify any strains of poliovirus that are harmless to humans and cannot mutate again into an infectious strain. The WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eradicate polio completely by 2020 and protect everyone against this disease for good. In addition, as part of their efforts to prevent another outbreak like the one in 2014, many countries have begun monitoring for new cases of wild poliovirus through sewage systems.

What Are the Symptoms of Polio?

Polio is an acute, non-communicable infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. While it may be mild in most cases, polio can lead to permanent paralysis or even death. The WHO estimates that every year almost half a million people contract polio globally and about 10% of those patients succumb to the disease. The symptoms are fairly similar for both children and adults. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. When present, the symptoms of polio are fever, fatigue, headache and nausea; muscle pain and stiffness; sore throat; abdominal pain; dizziness or difficulty walking. It can cause paralysis in one or more limbs which may affect breathing muscles leading to respiratory arrest and death. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately as they might not be due to polio but other illnesses like influenza or meningitis instead. If you’re concerned about any of these symptoms, visit your doctor’s office or hospital emergency room as soon as possible!

How Does Poliovirus Spread?

The 2014 polio epidemic in Pakistan, which infected over 200 people and killed almost 50, has raised concerns of how easily the virus can be spread. Poliovirus infections were confirmed to have been transmitted via contaminated water from a private well. But, health officials soon discovered that the bacteria and contamination levels in the water weren’t enough to cause the outbreak. As the polio virus is excreted through feces, it is only spread when those infected come into contact with another person who does not have immunity to polio or when it spreads through contaminated food or water supplies. However, there are still other ways that poliovirus can be transmitted: * Through direct contact with an infected person’s stool or saliva * By eating food handled by someone who is infected * By consuming water contaminated by fecal matter This highlights just how widespread these outbreaks can be if they are not monitored and quarantined quickly.

Why is Poliovirus Monitoring Important?

Many countries are now monitoring for new cases of poliovirus through wastewater systems, as this is a more efficient way to find the virus in its environment. Wastewater systems typically collect and treat sewage from homes and industries, so it’s possible that the virus can be found there. If a new strain of the poliovirus is found in the wastewater system, it is beneficial to know about it as soon as possible so residents can be alerted to the potential risks.

How Can We Monitor for Polio Viruses in Wastewater?

Every year, the WHO monitors wastewater systems in order to detect the presence of poliovirus. These tests are done to ensure that countries are ready for an outbreak and have the capacity to rapidly respond. The goal is to ensure that any potential cases can be detected early on and a response can be implemented as soon as possible. The process is relatively straightforward. First, feces from suspected patients are collected and then processed through a test kit that detects the presence of poliovirus. Once they’ve identified a patient with poliovirus, they will isolate the patient and collect samples from those in contact with them in order to monitor their immunization status and determine whether or not there is an outbreak occurring. The WHO also conducts sewage surveillance by collecting water samples from wastewater systems in regions where polio has been previously identified through stool testing. The WHO will then examine these samples for evidence of polioviruses within the region. This helps experts determine how widespread the disease is within a particular population, which can help them better manage future outbreaks of polio virus in regions with low immunization rates or areas where sanitation isn’t great. Essentially, this method provides experts with real-time information about the spread of polio virus so they can focus on areas where it may threaten public health most severely.

Will Detecting Poliovirus in Sewage Systems Help Eradicate the Disease?

In September 2014, an outbreak of wild poliovirus was detected for the first time in 15 years. Since then, the WHO has been working towards eradicating polio and many countries have begun monitoring for new cases of poliovirus through sewage systems. Countries like Canada, China, Russia and Nigeria have installed wastewater treatment plants that can detect the disease in the sewage system and remove it before people are exposed to it. If more countries follow suit, then we may be able to eradicate polio once and for all. The WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eradicate polio completely by 2020, but until now they were unable to identify any strains of poliovirus that are harmless to humans and cannot mutate again into an infectious strain. With wastewater treatment plants popping up across the globe, we could potentially see a decline in new cases of polio virus as long as these systems continue to be monitored and taken care of properly.

Should We Be Concerned About Poliovirus Being Found in Our Sewage?

It’s been found that poliovirus can be found in a variety of water sources, including sewage. The WHO has been monitoring sewage systems for the virus to make sure countries are aware of the potential dangers. Of course, people should be concerned about this latest discovery because it’s possible that the virus could enter our food and drinking water. To prevent this from happening, WHO suggests maintaining high immunization rates and their Global Vaccine Action Plan.

Final Words: The Importance of Global Collaboration

The WHO has been working towards eradicating polio for several years now, but until recently they were unable to identify any strains of poliovirus that are harmless to humans and cannot mutate again into an infectious strain. The WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan aims to eradicate polio completely by 2020 and protect everyone against this disease for good. In addition, as part of their efforts to prevent another outbreak like the one in 2014, many countries have begun monitoring for new cases of wild poliovirus through sewage systems.