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Published On: Mon, Jun 3rd, 2013

Poliovirus found in Israeli sewage, CDC issues polio travel notice for Somalia and Kenya

Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was isolated from sewage samples collected on 9 April 2013 in Rahat, southern Israel, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) update June 3.

Health officials emphasize, the virus has been detected in sewage only; no case of paralytic polio has been reported.

CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield

CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield

The virus isolate was detected through routine environmental surveillance in Israel that involves regular testing of sewage water. Israel has been free of indigenous WPV transmission since 1988. In the past, wild poliovirus has been detected in environmental samples collected in this region between 1991 and 2002 without occurrence of cases of paralytic polio in the area.

Preliminary analysis indicate the strain is not related to the virus currently affecting the Horn of Africa (discussed below); however, genetic sequencing and epidemiological investigations are ongoing to determine its origin.

Although routine immunization levels for polio in Israel are estimated at 94 percent, health officials, as part of their investigation, are actively searching for potential cases of paralytic polio as well as for any un-immunized persons.

Similar activities are being implemented by health authorities in Gaza and the West Bank.

In addition, due to recent polio cases reported on the Horn of Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for the area at an Alert Level 2–Practice Enhanced Precautions.

Based on reports from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there have been four cases reported from Somalia in May 2013. These are the first wild poliovirus cases reported in Somalia since 2007.

Also, two cases have been reported from Dadaab, Kenya. These are the first wild poliovirus cases confirmed in Kenya since July 2011. Dadaab hosts a major refugee camp, housing nearly 500,000 people from across the Horn of Africa, including from Somalia. Countries across the Horn of Africa are now at risk of this outbreak because of large-scale population movements and persistent immunity gaps in some areas.

CDC recommends that all travelers to Somalia and Kenya, and surrounding countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults should receive a one-time booster dose of polio vaccine.

Polio is a disease caused by a virus that is mainly spread by eating or drinking items contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Polio can also be spread through water, other drinks, and raw or undercooked food.

Most people with polio do not feel sick. Some people have only minor symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. Most people recover completely. In rare cases, polio causes permanent loss of muscle function in the arms or legs (usually the legs) or death.

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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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  1. Israel to ramp up polio vaccinations after virus found in sewage samples from multiple sites - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] first instance of poliovirus was isolated from sewage samples collected on 9 April 2013 in Rahat, southern […]

  2. www.housesoundproductions.com says:

    Hi, just wanted to mention, I liked this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

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