The Israeli public health response to wild poliovirus importation Academic Article uri icon


  • 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 intensification 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 officially declared Israel as a polio-free country. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015