LONDON — Polio has been detected in sewage samples in the British capital, the first sign since the 1980s that the virus could be spreading in the country, but no cases have been found, authorities said.
The risk of infection from the disease, which causes paralysis in children in under 1% of cases, was also low because of high vaccination rates, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.
The agency nevertheless encouraged parents to make sure their children were vaccinated after the discovery of the virus during routine wastewater surveillance – particularly those who may have missed shots during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationwide vaccination levels are above the 90% needed to prevent outbreaks, but London’s coverage rates among the under-twos have dipped below that in recent years.
The National Health Service in the city will begin contacting parents of children under five who are not immunized.
Polio, spread mainly through contamination by fecal matter, used to kill and paralyze thousands of children annually worldwide. There is no cure, but vaccination brought the world close to ending the wild, or naturally occurring, form of the disease.
UKHSA said it usually finds between one and three samples of poliovirus in sewage annually, but they have previously been one-offs. This year, one sample was found in February at the Beckton Treatment Works in east London, and there has also been ongoing detection at the same plant, which serves around 4 million people, since April.
In the past, UKHSA said the detections occurred when an individual vaccinated overseas with the live oral polio vaccine returned or traveled to the country, and briefly shed the virus in their feces.
They believe this is also what happened this time, with the key difference being that the virus has also probably spread between closely linked people and evolved into what is known as “vaccine-derived poliovirus”, which can cause disease.
Investigations into community transmission were ongoing, the agency said.
While this kind of event is effectively unheard of in Britain, vaccine-derived poliovirus is a known, albeit rare, threat globally in countries with low immunization coverage. It can cause outbreaks, and Ukraine and Israel recently reported cases.
Outbreaks are more common in countries including Nigeria and Yemen.
The last polio case in the UK was in 1984, and “wild” polio is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with imported outbreaks reported in Malawi and Mozambique in 2022.
The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the agency was working with the UK on the response.
“Surveillance, vaccination and investment to end polio is critical,” he tweeted.
President Biden Signs Bipartisan Gun Safety Bill into Law
On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan gun control bill into law.
According to USA Today, the law, called the Safer Communities Act, urges states to create “red flag” laws that would prevent people deemed dangerous from being able to legally obtain a firearm. It further eliminates the “boyfriend loophole” by adding “dating partners” to the list of violent domestic abusers banned from purchasing a gun and increases background checks of 18 to 21-years-olds seeking to buy a firearm.
Additionally, it includes “the first-ever federal law that makes gun trafficking and straw purchases distinct federal crimes.”
“At a time when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential,” Biden said at the White House.
“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,” he added before calling the bill the “most significant [gun control] law to be passed” over “the last 30 years.”
Noting that people have been calling on lawmakers to do something since the Columbine mass shooting in 1999, Biden said their cries have now been answered.
“From Columbine to Sandy Hook, to Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo, Uvalde, and for the shootings that happen every day in the streets that are mass shootings — and we don’t even hear about them, the number of people killed every day in the streets — their message to us was: ‘Do something.’ How many times have we heard that? ‘Just do something,’” he said. “Well, today, we did.”
The new law came after a string of deadly mass shootings last month, including a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed, and another at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket where 10 were killed, and three were wounded.
As Christian Headlines previously reported last Thursday, the Senate voted 64 to 34 in favor of the bill. The House then passed the bill on Friday with a 234 to 193 vote, sending it to Biden’s desk.
Fourteen Republican representatives joined all House Democrats in passing the bill.
U.S. Senate Pushes Forward Bipartisan Gun Control Bill
Bipartisan Group of Senators Reach Agreement on Framework for New Gun Control Legislation
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/jirkaejc
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.
‘Just an Innocent Man’: Texas Pastor Shot, Killed in Suspected Road Rage Incident
A beloved pastor in Houston, Texas, was shot and killed in a suspected road rage incident on Friday afternoon.
The Reverend Dr. Ronald K. Mouton Sr., who led East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church for 30 years, was shot and killed by another driver at around 4:19 pm while he was driving on the Gulf Freeway.
Rep. Sheila Jackson, R-Texas, and Crime Stoppers of Houston have released a $5,000 reward regarding information leading to an arrest of the suspected shooter, who remains at large as of Monday. According to Click 2 Houston, police say the suspect was believed to be driving a black sedan.
Surveillance video from Pusch and Nguyen Injury Lawyers showed what happened before Mouton was killed.
As reported by The Christian Post, Mouton’s church and friends are aggrieved over his death.
“Dr. Mouton was known and loved by many. If you knew him, you would know him to be a gracious servant, a leader, and a friend. As we begin to cope with the reality of his passing, we ask that you would respect our family’s privacy during this time,” East Bethel Missionary Baptist Church wrote on Facebook.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Pastor Mouton. I got to know him when he worked with my late husband, Lonal Robinson, as he developed youth sports programs in the ’90s. His benevolence was meaningful to the children of the community,” one church member wrote.
Lee, a longtime friend of Mouton, remembered the reverend as a loving man who loved to serve others.
“This was just an innocent man traveling on a road near his church where he worked all the time,” the congresswomen said. “He loves ministry. He was just doing the work of a pastor.”
Mouton, a graduate of Baylor University and Stephen F. Austin State University, leaves behind his wife of nearly 40 years, four children, 10 grandchildren, a twin brother, and other siblings.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Stephen Barnes
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.
Christian Leaders Celebrate the Overturning of Roe but Caution: ‘Our Work Is Just Beginning’
Christian leaders across the denominational spectrum on Friday celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade but cautioned that much work – in states and in local communities – remains to be done.
The court’s overruling of Roe sends the issue back to the respective 50 states, where legislatures and governors now will decide – and in some instances already have decided – what to do.
Here are how seven Christian leaders reacted to Friday’s opinion:
Lila Rose, President and Founder of Live Action
“Roe v. Wade is over. Children will live because of this decision to overturn the constitutional fiction of Roe v. Wade,” Rose said. “… This decision is an important step forward for the protection of innocent life in our nation, but the work of the pro-life movement is just getting started. While overruling Roe is a necessary first step, giving states the prerogative to regulate abortion is not a final victory. While this decision will give states the right to protect their youngest citizens, many of our nation’s largest states, such as California, Illinois, and New York will still legalize and even subsidize the killing of our youngest children. We will not have true justice until the Supreme Court acknowledges the truth that under our Constitution, every American – born or preborn – has an inherent right to life protected by the 14th Amendment.
“Science conclusively proves that a unique and biologically distinct human life begins at the moment of fertilization,” Rose added. “Every child regardless of their age, should be protected from the horrors of abortion and the abortion industry. Going forward, the pro-life movement must advocate for the Supreme Court to grant equal protection under the law to all humans, even from the very beginning of every human’s life. Starting today, every single state in our nation must act swiftly to codify protections for preborn children into state law and resource mothers and fathers to ensure the American family is healthy and ready to flourish without the grave violence of abortion.”
Rose wrote in a tweet, “Our work is just beginning.”
Our work is just beginning
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) June 24, 2022
Roland Warren, President and CEO of Care Net
“For all who value the sanctity of human life, today marks a monumental day in our efforts to protect the unborn. In upholding Mississippi’s pro-life law and overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has paved the way for states to make laws regulating abortion based on the values of their own citizens,” Warren said. “But changed laws don’t equal changed hearts, and the Supreme Court can’t outlaw unplanned, unexpected, and unexpectedly complicated pregnancies. Accordingly, regardless of how the laws of our land play out over the next several years, women and men will continue to face tough pregnancy decisions. In an environment in which abortion is more difficult to access, Care Net’s work has become more critical than ever.
“Care Net will continue to support our network of more than 1,200 affiliated pregnancy centers, a national hotline, and a growing network of churches in their irreplaceable efforts to offer compassion, hope, and help to women and men at risk for abortion.”
Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
“Roe v. Wade, passed 49 years ago, has resulted in the deaths of over 63 million innocent children in this country. Sadly, this decision is not an end to abortion — it pushes the battle back to the states,” Graham said.
“My prayer is that every state will enact protections for children in the womb and that our nation will value life and recognize the rights of our most vulnerable,” Graham said.
Karen Swallow Prior, Author and Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Our work now is just starting: we must help and support moms, dads, and babies. Love them all – and in so doing making abortion unimaginable,” Prior said.
Our work now is just starting: we must help and support moms, dads, and babies. Love them all—and in so doing making abortion unimaginable. #RoeVsWade
— Karen Swallow Prior (Notorious KSP) (@KSPrior) June 24, 2022
Bart Barber, President of the Southern Baptist Convention
“Southern Baptists rejoice at the ruling that the United States Supreme Court has delivered today in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization,” Barber said. “Since 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention has passed more than 20 resolutions on the question of abortion.
“… As we stated just days ago in a resolution at our 2022 Annual Meeting, in a post-Roe United States, ‘We commit to stand with and pray for abortion-vulnerable women, to eliminate any perceived need for the horror of abortion, and to oppose Planned Parenthood and other predatory organizations or institutions who exploit vulnerable women for profit.’ State-by-state, mother-by-mother, heart-by-heart, we will continue our sacred work toward this goal.”
Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life of America
“DFLA is excited about the political opportunities this decision creates for pro-life Democrats,” Day said. “We have made significant contributions to advancing justice for the preborn and their mothers, and will continue to do so. Today is a wonderful day and we enthusiastically recommit ourselves to the mission of protecting all human life from womb to tomb.”
Day urged states to assist women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
“What are they going to do to support those women who no longer can [have an] abortion in those states?” Day told NBC. “How are we going to provide them with the opportunity and the support to parent, feed their families, keep their jobs and … have affordable health, health care, affordable childcare? … Let’s put women and children first and let’s provide the support, compassion to help them with a real choice to become parents.”
A news release said Democrats for Life “celebrates” the overturning of Roe.
Roe Overturned!!! Read the DFLA Press Release here! https://t.co/7Ist7G15PN
— Kristen Day (@ProLifeDem) June 24, 2022
Alveda King, Founder of Speak for Life and Niece of the late Martin Luther King Jr.
“For 49 years, ‘we the people’ have had to endure a flawed and unconstitutional ruling from the Supreme Court that allowed unelected judges to create a national right to abortion that ultimately led to extreme actions, like late-term abortions, against the unborn,” King said. “Today, the Supreme Court has rightfully overturned that decision, sending the power to regulate abortion back to the elected officials at the state level. I have longed for and prayed for this day. And I will continue to fight for human dignity for everyone – from the womb to the tomb.”
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Pool
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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