30 years old mutated polio virus found in a man’s gut

A man in the UK has experienced an extremely rare health complication due to the polio vaccine received by him in childhood. Recently it has been found that the virus was never cleared from his body; instead, it circulated in his gut for almost 30 years. Researchers are saying that the virus gets excreted through his stool even today.

It’s true that it was a known fact that at times people may shed polio virus from their body for an extended period of time. However, according to researchers, the problem persisted in this British man for by far the longest period of time. The researchers added that cases like these can eventually cause the virus to spread and have a negative impact on efforts for eradicating polio.

These new findings are forcing experts to search for the best ways of protecting the population from these particular kinds of polio virus.

The majority of the countries, except a few like Pakistan and Afghanistan, have succeeded in eradicating polio virus. However, recent reports suggest that there has been reemergence of the virus in countries like Syria.

Right now, two types of polio vaccines are used for preventing the disease. The first type has dead strains of the virus as its primary ingredient and needs to be injected. The second type is administered orally and includes a live, weakened form of the virus.

Experts say that oral polio vaccine has some advantages. For instance, the process of administering polio vaccine orally is simple, and it acts more quickly in stopping replication of the virus in an individual’s gut. However, there’s also a minor risk associated with this form of the vaccine. It has been found that oral polio vaccine can cause the disease itself.


Additionally, there’s also the risk of having the virus lingering in the gut of the person receiving the oral polio vaccine. This vaccine prompts an individual’s immunity to develop in his or her gut as the weakened polio virus temporarily replicate there.

Usually, the person receiving the vaccine clears the virus from the gut within 6 to 8 weeks following the vaccination. However, in extremely rare cases, individuals suffering from immune deficiencies fail to clear the virus. The virus keeps on replicating in their gut. The 29-year-old British man had an immune deficiency and, as a result, couldn’t eradicate the virus even after 30 years of the vaccination.