SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

ECDC releases updated risk assessment for poliovirus

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control updated its risk assessment of poliovirus on Tuesday with regard to the confirmed presence of wild poliovirus and poliomyelitis strains in the Middle East.

The number of confirmed cases of polio is increasing in Syria and Israel. The ECDC updated its risk assessment and is strongly recommending residents of the European Union and European Economic Area get vaccinated against polio to prevent a possible outbreak.

On the whole, vaccine coverage in the EU/EEA against poliovirus is considered satisfactory and is above 90 percent for three doses of either the oral polio vaccine or inactivated polio vaccine.

There have been no confirmed cases of wild poliovirus in the EU, but experts are concerned that an outbreak can occur among un- and under-immunized populations. This is especially true for poorer communities in Europe that are more likely to have poorer sanitation and lower vaccination coverage.

The updated risk assessment includes an assessment of the risk factor for populations that received the OPV vaccine versus the IPV vaccine. The risk assessment also includes an analysis of risk based on the poliovirus strain to which a population may become exposed.

The ECDC recommends that the EU/EEA run vaccination campaigns to increase coverage against poliovirus. It also recommends the EU/EEA maintain polio surveillance and create an effective preparedness plan in the event of an outbreak.