National Incident Declared After Traces of Polio Found in London Sewage

    Photo: Getty Images [via The Guardian]

    The Facts

    • A national incident was declared in the UK on Wed. over the discovery of poliovirus in multiple samples of sewage from wastewater in North and East London.

    • Routine disease surveillance found closely-related traces of the disease in samples between Feb. and May this year, raising concerns that there has been community spread of the virus.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    This is nothing to worry about. Relevant agencies are in possession of "world-beating" tools to locate the origin of the virus, the UK has a high vaccination rate against polio, and the NHS will be following up with the parents of children who are not yet fully immunized.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The fact that polio can even get a toehold in a country with a healthcare system as advanced as the UK's raises urgent questions about the state of public health in the country. The danger of the sometimes fatal disease has been forgotten, and uptake of the polio vaccine has declined since Britain was declared free of it in 2003.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that the WHO will certify the worldwide eradication of polio by 2032, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



    More neutral establishment stance articles

    Sign up to our daily newsletter