Source: Haaretz.com (Israel)
By: Lior, Ilan
The wild polio strain first found in southern Israel’s sewer systems in May has spread to towns in the northern and central parts of the country, emphasizing the importance of the nationwide polio vaccination campaign launched Aug. 18. Around 182,000 children have been vaccinated so far, with the goal of administering the live-attenuated vaccine to all children ages nine or younger. According to Professor Eli Somekh, chairman of the ministry’s advisory council on the campaign, the virus will not stop spreading until children who received the dead-virus vaccine when they were babies are given the live-attenuated vaccine. “If there isn’t a high vaccination rate, a great many children vaccinated only with the dead virus are liable to be exposed to the virus, become carriers and continue to spread it,” he says. Somekh adds that the ministry will consider reinstating the live-attenuated vaccine for all children once the vaccination campaign ends.