Current Situation in Israel
On June 3, 2013, the WHO Disease Outbreak News reported detection of WPV type 1 in samples of sewage from Rahat, a Bedouin village in the Southern District of Israel. WHO assessed the risk of spread to other countries as “low to moderate” at that time (see the WHO report).
By July 15, testing had identified a total of 10 WPV-positive sampling sites in the Southern District (some with multiple WPV-positive specimens collected serially). WHO issued an update and assessed the risk of spread as “moderate to high” (see the WHO report). Since then, some sampling sites in the Central District have also yielded positive results.
On August 15, WHO issued further information indicating WPV had been detected in 67 sewage samples taken during February 3, 2013, through August 4, 2013. These samples were taken from sites in the Southern and Central Districts. WHO also indicated that positive stool specimens had been collected from some healthy children who had been fully-vaccinated with IPV (see the WHO report).
No human polio cases have been identified in Israel to date. Childhood vaccination coverage in Israel with 4 doses of IPV is very high (90%–95%). Israel also has an extensive system of environmental surveillance (i.e., testing of sewage samples for poliovirus). The Israel Ministry of Health is recommending increased attention to hand washing and undertaking catch-up vaccination of children who have not completed the polio vaccination series. On August 4, 2013, the Ministry of Health also initiated a campaign to vaccinate all children born since 2004 (and aged >2 months) in the Southern District with bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV). On August 18th, the Ministry of Health extended the campaign nationally to vaccinate all children born since 2004.
At this time, CDC recommends that all travelers to Israel be fully vaccinated against polio and practice good personal hygiene and cleanliness. In addition, adults should receive a one-time IPV booster dose before traveling to Israel. See the Vaccine section in Chapter 3, Poliomyelitis,CDC Health Information for International Travel, for specific vaccination details.
Comments: This update confirms what many experts have been suggesting for long, we need intensive surveillance to actually stamp out Polio from the World, once & for all. With the resistance in some Muslim communities, along with political issues, this challenge of polio eradication still remains, and we cannot afford to become lax in our commitment in India & the world to eradicate Polio once & for all.