Category Archives: Sewage

Polio is back – because privatised water firms were allowed to dump untreated sewage?

Rivers of Sh*t: Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to think about the details of his Brexit, and now the UK is suffering shortages of materials including those used to clean sewage. So partially-cleaned and harmful crap is going directly into our rivers – including faeces containing the polio virus, that could paralyse people who have not been vaccinated against it.

It’s true – a disease that we thought we had eradicated is back, due to Tory short-sightedness:

Here‘s a government press release on what has happened:

The UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA), working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has found poliovirus in sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

As part of routine surveillance, it is normal for one to three ‘vaccine-like’ polioviruses to be detected each year in UK sewage samples but these have always been one-off findings that were not detected again. These previous detections occurred when an individual vaccinated overseas with the live oral polio vaccine (OPV) returned or travelled to the UK and briefly ‘shed’ traces of the vaccine-like poliovirus in their faeces.

Investigations are underway after several closely-related viruses were found in sewage samples taken between February and May. The virus has continued to evolve and is now classified as a ‘vaccine-derived’ poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2), which on rare occasions can cause serious illness, such as paralysis, in people who are not fully vaccinated.

The detection of a VDPV2 suggests it is likely there has been some spread between closely-linked individuals in North and East London and that they are now shedding the type 2 poliovirus strain in their faeces. The virus has only been detected in sewage samples and no associated cases of paralysis have been reported – but investigations will aim to establish if any community transmission is occurring.

The last case of wild polio contracted in the UK was confirmed in 1984. The UK was declared polio-free in 2003.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA said:

Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public overall is extremely low.

Vaccine-derived poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is lower. On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated so if you or your child are not up to date with your polio vaccinations it’s important you contact your GP to catch up or if unsure check your Red Book. Most of the UK population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk.

We are urgently investigating to better understand the extent of this transmission and the NHS has been asked to swiftly report any suspected cases to the UKHSA, though no cases have been reported or confirmed so far.

Jane Clegg, Chief nurse for the NHS in London said:

The majority of Londoners are fully protected against Polio and won’t need to take any further action, but the NHS will begin reaching out to parents of children aged under 5 in London who are not up to date with their Polio vaccinations to invite them to get protected.

Meanwhile, parents can also check their child’s vaccination status in their Red Book and people should contact their GP surgery to book a vaccination, should they or their child not be fully up to date.

The UK is considered by the World Health Organization to be polio-free, with low-risk for polio transmission due to the high level of vaccine coverage across the population. However, vaccine coverage for childhood vaccines has decreased nationally and especially in parts of London over the past few years, so UKHSA is urging people to check they are up to date with their vaccines.

Wastewater surveillance is being expanded to assess the extent of transmission and identify local areas for targeted action. Healthcare professionals have been alerted to these findings so they can promptly investigate and report anyone presenting with symptoms that could be polio, such as paralysis.

So it’s in the sewage and, because some people have decided not to vaccinate their children (based on a falsehood, as I understand it), there’s a risk that someone may catch polio and be paralysed.

And there are concerns that it may spread – or may have spread already. Well, with untreated sewage going directly into the rivers, it’s entirely possible, isn’t it?

Another brilliant Tory idea to cope with the consequences of their brilliant Brexit causes trouble.

ADDITIONAL: This is worrying:

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Sign the petition to make water companies pay YOU if they dump untreated sewage

State-approved sewage: but if the water companies are dumping untreated sewage, then they’re not fulfilling their contract with their clients – the public – and they owe us a refund.

Here’s a very good point:

We pay for the water company to take away surface-foul water to be treated at local sewage works.

This amounts to around 45-50% of our annual bill.

If the companies dump that waste water into the river or sea, without treatment, they are ripping us off.

Water companies have dumped sewage into rivers or the sea for years. Even in the height of summer during periods of low rainfall.

It is more profitable for them to occasionally sluice the sewage, when they think they can get away with it, rather than treating it.

If they were not just fined for any illegal dumping but forced to refund for treatment they haven’t done, it may make them a little more hesitant to carry on this disgusting practice.

That is the object of a new petition on the UK Parliament website: as water companies aren’t treating sewage – despite being contractually obliged to do so – then they owe their clients a hefty refund.

This is something that seems to have passed by the Tory government when it offered the privatised water companies a free pass from treating sewage on the grounds that they couldn’t get the chemicals from the European Union.

But the logic is clear. If they’re not buying and using the chemicals, then they don’t need the half of our water bills that is supposed to pay for it.

And the UK’s Tory government should make sure we get our money back. Right?

If you agree, sign the petition.

You can find it here: Require Water Companies to Refund Customers When They Dump Sewage – Petitions

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