ECDC clarifies recommendations for poliovirus

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on Thursday it examined the risk of wild-type poliovirus re-emerging within the European Union following confirmed cases of asymptomatic WPV1 and poliomyelitis in the Middle East.

The ECDC wrote a letter to the editor of scientific journal The Lancet on Thursday in response to "Polio emergence in Syria and Israel endangers Europe," which was published on Nov. 8.

The Nov. 8 article highlighted only one recommendation made by the ECDC, and said it was insufficient and "more comprehensive measures should be taken into consideration."

The letter clarifies full recommendations made by the ECDC in a risk assessment dated Sept. 26 on wild-type poliovirus in Israel, and a rapid risk assessment dated Oct. 24 on suspected cases in Syria.

Recommendations made by the ECDC to the European Union and Member States include assessing the increase in polio vaccination at national, subnational and local levels, as well as identifying vulnerable and under-vaccinated communities.

Countries with less than 90 percent vaccination rates should increase their vaccination program to communities and travelers. Countries accepting refugees from Syria should check their vaccination status and provide the necessary vaccines.

The ECDC also recommended countries develop contingency plans to distribute polio vaccines in case of an outbreak.