Polio Virus from Africa Found in Sewage of Brazilian World Cup City

Polio Virus from Africa Found in Sewage of Brazilian World Cup City

On Monday, international authorities announced that the virus that causes polio was found the sewage in Sao Paulo, which is one of the cities playing host to the World Cup in Brazil.  

According to Wired, “the World Health Organization, which announced the finding on Monday, says the virus was discovered last week in a sample collected in March at Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, which is about 60 miles outside Sao Paulo, and is where many of the World Cup teams have been landing. The agency said no cases of polio have been identified and there is no evidence the disease has been transmitted.”

Genetic sequencing of the virus also reportedly “revealed that it was closely related to a poliovirus that recently caused a case of the disease in Equatorial Guinea in West Africa. Humans are polio’s only host; so that probably means the virus was carried into Brazil by a traveler, likely someone who never knew he was harboring it.”

As Wired noted, Brazil’s high vaccination rate kept the virus from spreading but it still “illustrates how unpredictable the movement of people, and their infections, can be around the world.” “Polio is spread when the virus from the gut of an infected person gets into the gut of an uninfected one. The usual method is what’s called the ‘fecal-oral route’: eating food or drinking water contaminated with fecal bacteria.” 

Photo: Getty