Fatal mishap: Poliovirus landed in the river

Polioviruses get into a river due to breakdown

08.09.2014

Polioviruses in Belgium have entered a river due to a breakdown in the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. Although the company and the authorities said that the risk to the population was "extremely low", the Health Department advised them to stay away from the river for the time being.

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    Poliovirus arrives via sewage treatment plant
    In Belgium, a pharmaceutical company accidentally dumped water contaminated with poliovirus into a sewage treatment plant. The solution with the pathogens came from there into a river, as shown by press reports. It was reported, however, that the treatment plant is not connected to the drinking water supply. Although the incident took place last Tuesday just south of the capital, Brussels, it only became known on Saturday. The Belgian news agency Belga said that the reason was a mistake in the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline( GSK).

    Staying away from the river
    According to a GSK representative, Belga told a staff member that he used to do the automatic automatic cleaning of a tank. Therefore, 45 liters of contaminated liquid flowed to the treatment plant. Although the company informed the authorities immediately, the following analyzes took several days. According to Belga, both the authorities and the company emphasize that the risk to the population is "extremely low".On the one hand, the viruses are only very diluted in the environment and on the other hand, virtually all people in Belgium have been vaccinated against polio. Nevertheless, a spokesman for the health department in the Belgian "Le Vif" advised to stay away from the river for the time being.

    polioviruses can cause polio
    polioviruses can cause polio( poliomyelitis), which affects the muscle-controlling nerve cells of the spinal cord and can lead to permanent paralysis or even death. In particular, children between the ages of three and eight years and occasionally older persons into adulthood are affected by the infectious disease. After an incubation period of up to two weeks, there is a three-day illness with fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, often diarrhea and nausea and vomiting. In more than three-quarters of those affected, this so-called abortive poliomyelitis heals without consequences.(ad)

    Image: Cornelia Menichelli / pixelio.de
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