Journal article

Insidious reintroduction of wild poliovirus into Israel, 2013

The last widespread circulation of wild poliovirus in Israel was 25 years ago, resulting in a national outbreak with cases of permanent paralytic polio [3]. The major difference between the 1988 outbreak in Israel and other outbreaks of wild poliovirus infection in recent years in other developed countries [19,20] that used an IPV-only routine vaccination schedule, is the early detection of silent virus circulation through an existing early warning system, involving national environmental surveillance. This early detection allowed for further investigation and planning of a national response well in time. ... Notably, the highly probable chain of events that lead to the re-introduction of WPV1 into Israel in 2013 is not the first of its kind. Other possible long-distance point importations into decades-long polio-free countries were identified, in Finland and the Netherlands, following the paralytic polio outbreaks of 1986 and 1992, respectively [19-22]. This is in contrast to the endemic, Middle-Eastern origin of the 1988 outbreak due to WPV1 in Israel . The detection of WPV1 in 2013 in Israel should therefore alert polio-free countries and global health organisations, which could confront a similar situation, given the increased mobility of people and populations, as long as wild poliovirus continues to be endemic in several parts of the world. Furthermore, our findings are also relevant to the global debate related to polio preventive measures such as routine national environmental surveillance and reinstitution of combined IPV and OPV routine immunisation schedule, even in polio-free countries with high IPV coverage.


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