The Israeli public health response to wild poliovirus importation

Ehud Kaliner, Eran Kopel, Emilia Anis, Ella Mendelson, Jacob Moran-Gilad, Lester M. Shulman, Shepherd R. Singer, Yossi Manor, Eli Somekh, Shmuel Rishpon, Alex Leventhal, Lisa Rubin, Diana Tasher, Mira Honovich, Larisa Moerman, Tamy Shohat, Ravit Bassal, Danit Sofer, Michael Gdalevich, Boaz LevRonni Gamzu, Itamar Grotto

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Debate


In 2013, a silent wild poliovirus type 1 importation and sustained transmission event occurred in southern Israel. With the aim of preventing clinical poliomyelitis and ensuring virus re-elimination, the public health response to the importation event included intensifi cation of clinical and environmental surveillance activities, enhancement of vaccine coverage, and supplemental immunisation with a bivalent oral polio vaccine against wild poliovirus types 1 and 3. A national campaign launched in August, 2013, resulted in vaccination of 943 587 children younger than 10 years (79% of the eligible target population). Expanded environmental surveillance (roughly 80% population coverage) documented a gradual disappearance of wild poliovirus type 1 in the country from September, 2013, to April, 2014. No paralytic poliomyelitis case was detected. A prompt extensive and coordinated national public health response, implemented on the basis of evidence-based decision making, successfully contained this serious importation and sustained transmission event of wild poliovirus to Israel. On April 28, 2015, WHO offi cially declared Israel as a polio-free country.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
Pages (from-to)1236-1242
Number of pages7
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
LMS has received a WHO grant for environmental surveillance of poliovirus to his institution and support from WHO for travel to WHO meetings and from the US Food and Drug Administration for travel to a workshop at the US National Institutes of Health. All other authors declare no competing interests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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