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Polio in Israel and Vaccination

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi there, I've posted this on the general forum, but wanted your advice as well, as I've read your book and found it very informative. My two kids, 3 and 5 are not vaccinated. I feel pretty confident about that these days. We typically visit family in Israel in the winter, but I now understand that there has been detection of the polio virus in sewage in southern Israel and they've identified individual 1000 carriers in the south of the country. It's the same strain that is endemic to Pakistan. The Israeli government is now working on the innoculation of 150,000 kids in southern Israel with the newest live polio vaccine. So my questions are: 1. Should I visit Israel this year, and if so, do I need to vaccinate my kids? 2. If I do vaccinate my kids, would you recommend just the single polio dose vaccine, versus the combo diptheria/tetanus/pertussis/polio vaccine? 3. Do I need to be worried about my kids coming into contact with friends or relatives who have travelled to or will travel to Israel? Many people in our community and at my daughter's school regularly travel to Israel. Any advice you have would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 6

Bumping for Dr. Sears' attention. :)

post #3 of 6

I wouldn't worry about contact with travelers from Israel. Infectious contact from them is a very small risk. I wouldn't travel this year. Since your preference is to not vaccinate, I don't see how it is worth vaccinating so you can make the trip. If you did vaccinate, I would just do polio - buy you would need 3 doses, 2 months apart.

post #4 of 6

Dr. Sears - I too am concerned about the polio virus, but I LIVE in Israel and have 4 unvaccinated children ages 9 months to 6 years. My understanding is that my children are more at risk because the medical establishment is vaccinating all children with the oral (live) vaccine. The virus is then shed in the fecal matter of ALL those vaccinated even if they show no signs of the virus. Those who are unvaccinated are then coming in contact with the virus via everyone getting the oral vaccine (all children under the age of 9.) My understanding is that if my children had been given the vaccine shots, they would not have the same risk when they come in contact with the shedding virus. Coming in contact with it is highly likely, almost certain, because kids are generally very poor in the hygiene department, to add to that, there is a neighbor of ours whose child plays with my children every day and he is constantly sticking his hands in his underwear and scratching his behind.


My decision to not vaccinate is based on the research I did that was relevant to the U.S. I'm not sure that it's the same given the current situation in Israel. Any advice as to what to do in this situation? If I choose to not vaccinate is there anything I should do to protect my children?


Thank you.


post #5 of 6

I am not familiar enough with the situation in Israel to really advise you as someone who lives there. But my understanding on viral shedding is that anyone who contracts the live virus from a vaccinated person wouldn't actually feel sick or contract neurological polio. The shed swallowed virus can multiply in a persons gut and can be detected there with testing, BUT it doesn't actually make the person sick. This opinion is based on what we've seen here in the U.S. with live polio viral shedding when someone gets the oral vaccine in another country and then comes here. But in Israel now, the worry isn't just shedding, it sounds like it's also the live virus in the sewage.  I don't know of any protective measures if you don't vaccinate, other than limiting exposure. But that isn't easy. As to whether or not you should vaccinate, that's a tough decision. I am not aware of enough details on what is going on there to advise whether or not to vaccinate.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your time and response Dr. Sears. Yes, we'll skip the trip to Israel this year and forgo the vaccination. Thanks for confirmation that the risk from cross-contamination from visitors is low. That was my main concern. All the best. By the way, I just grabbed another copy of your book, but the 2011 version. I'm looking forward to seeing what's new and updated in there. Thanks again.
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