Israel Is Eliminating Polio Again
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization, the global immunization advisory body to the World Health Organization (WHO), recently urged concerted action to eliminate wild polioviruses.
The group noted the continuing risks, particularly the detection of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) in Malawi in February 2022, linked to wild poliovirus originating in Pakistan.
The recent detection of cVDPV type 3 in Israel in children and environmental samples in occupied Palestinian territories also noted the recent detection.
And urged high-quality vaccination activities and strengthened surveillance.
As of April 11, 2022, a total of eight asymptomatic cases and one case of pediatric paralysis were confirmed in Israel.
Previously, Israel experienced an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 in 2013–2014. However, no cases of acute flaccid paralysis were reported, and the epidemic subsided after a bivalent oral polio vaccination campaign.
In response, the Health Ministry recently launched the ‘Two Drops' polio vaccination operation for all minors through Family Health Centers (Tipat Halav) and HMO clinics to reduce the risk of additional polio cases in Israel.
As part of the Two Drops operation, poliovirus vaccines will be given to all persons aged six weeks to 17 years according to the vaccination schedule, with some alterations:
- Children will receive the first two doses of the quintuple vaccine (which contains IPV) earlier than usual: ages 6 and 10 weeks.
- Children will receive the first bOPV dose earlier than usual: the second quintuple vaccine dose, minimum age of 10 weeks.
'The polio vaccine is the single most effective and safest means to prevent infection and protect people from getting ill,' says the Israel Ministry of Health.
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease that predominantly affects children under five years of age, says the WHO.
The virus is transmitted by person-to-person and spread mainly through the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system.
To alert international travelers of the polio risks in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Israel, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory on March 25, 2022.
Before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series, says the CDC.
The CDC's latest polio vaccine recommendations were published on February 17, 2022.
The latest polio vaccines news is posted on this Vax-Before-Travel webpage.
Note: This information was edited and curated for mobile readership.