Well being officers warned there was “some transmission” of the virus within the capital after detecting poliovirus in sewage samples.
Polio, which was formally eradicated within the UK in 2003, may cause paralysis in uncommon instances and could be life-threatening.
Whereas there have been no confirmed instances, officers sounded the alarm over the rising variety of samples present in sewage in London.
The UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA), working with the Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company (MHRA), discovered poliovirus in sewage samples in London boroughs together with Barnet, Brent, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.
It was first detected at Beckton sewage remedy works earlier this yr.
Officers mentioned ranges of the virus present in sewage and their “genetic range” suggests “some virus transmission in these boroughs”.
Consequently officers are to launch a speedy vaccination programme amongst children in London, the place there are decrease ranges of uptake of the vaccine.
Kids are routinely vaccinated in opposition to polio, however well being officers mentioned a booster would provide a “excessive degree of safety from paralysis and assist scale back additional unfold of the virus”.
Well being authorities pressured that the nationwide danger is low and that there have been no confirmed instances of polio.
In an announcement, the UK Well being Safety Company mentioned a complete of 116 type-two isolates have been recognized in nineteen sewage samples collected in London between February 8 and July 5 this yr.
Most are vaccine-like virus and only some have ample mutations to be labeled as vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV2).
That is of higher concern because it behaves extra like naturally occurring ‘wild’ polio and may on uncommon events result in instances of paralysis in unvaccinated people.
Dr Vanessa Saliba, Guide Epidemiologist at UKHSA mentioned: “No instances of polio have been reported and for almost all of the inhabitants, who’re absolutely vaccinated, the chance is low.
“However we all know the areas in London the place the poliovirus is being transmitted have a number of the lowest vaccination charges.
“Because of this the virus is spreading in these communities and places these residents not absolutely vaccinated at higher danger.”
She mentioned it was “very important” that folks guarantee their youngsters are absolutely vaccinated for his or her age.
The roll-out will start in boroughs with the bottom vaccination charges after which throughout all different boroughs, with the NHS in London contacting dad and mom when it’s their youngster’s time to return ahead.
Polio is a severe an infection that may trigger paralysis however most individuals are protected by vaccination, and the final case within the UK was in 1984.
Earlier than the polio vaccination programme round 8000 folks would develop paralysis yearly.
The UKHSA mentioned it was at present sampling eight additional websites throughout London, and one other 15 websites in London will begin sewage sampling in mid-August.
It mentioned 10 -15 websites will probably be stood up nationally to find out if poliovirus is spreading exterior of London.