The polio virus was found last month in the sewage system at the Utrecht Science Park in Bilthoven, the Ministry of Health reports. It is a type used to produce the polio vaccine.
There are four organizations on the Bilthoven site that are allowed to work with the polio virus. Every three weeks, samples are taken from the sewers to check if the polio virus has entered it.
The Health and Youth Welfare Inspectorate is conducting an investigation to find the source of the virus.
The virus may have ended up directly in the sewer through a drain, or down the toilet by an infected employee. In the first case, there is no danger to public health. The Netherlands has a closed sewage system that ends with purification plants that render the virus harmless.
In the event that the injured employee is the source, there is a risk. They can transmit the polio virus in their circle to people who have not been vaccinated against polio.
For this reason, sewage systems across the Netherlands are checked for the presence of the virus. The inspection body pays special attention to the sanitation systems in the Bible Belt, since relatively many people there are not vaccinated for religious reasons.
Not the first time
In February and April last year, the polio virus was also found in wastewater in Belethoven. Then a weakened strain of the virus was used to make the oral polio vaccine. The virus may have entered the sewer by an infected employee.
In 2017, two employees of a vaccine manufacturing company in Belethoven were exposed by chance exposed to polio virus. Someone was already injured.
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