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Published On: Thu, Aug 15th, 2013

The risk of international spread of polio from Israel ‘moderate to high’: WHO

In a follow up to the detection of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in sewage samples in Southern Israel, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today it estimates the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) from Israel to remain moderate to high.

Poliovirus Credits:   CDC

Poliovirus Credits: CDC

The global health organization goes on to say this risk assessment reflects evidence of increasing geographic extent of circulation over a prolonged period of time.

WPV1 has been detected in 67 sewage samples from 24 sampling sites in Israel, collected from 3 February 2013 to 4 August 2013. Initially restricted to southern Israel, WPV1 has now also been detected in the central district as well.

In addition, the virus has been isolated in stool samples from 27 healthy children (all under the age of nine years) and one adult, who had been fully immunized for their age as part of ongoing stool sample survey activities. No case of paralytic polio has been reported.

This is prompting Israeli public health authorities to ramp up surveillance activities and a vaccination campaign to cover the entire nation.

The Jerusalem Post reported today that the oral polio vaccination campaign in Southern Israel is currently at the half-way point,  with 50,000 children born after January 1, 2004 vaccinated.

In addition, the Israeli Health Ministry is gearing up to begin a 3 month long vaccination campaign Sunday to vaccinate children in the rest of the country.

The WHO advises all countries, in particular those with frequent travel and contacts with polio affected countries, strengthen surveillance for cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), in order to rapidly detect any new poliovirus importations and facilitate a rapid response.

WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travelers to and from poliovirus-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Three countries remain endemic for indigenous transmission of WPV: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Additionally, in 2013, the Horn of Africa has been affected by an outbreak of WPV1.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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    […] addition, they note the fact that sewage samples and and feces from asymptomatic carriers from Israel have tested positive for polio as part of the […]

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    […] a follow up to a report in mid-August, the number of sewage samples collected in Israel that are positive for wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) […]

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