Six weeks into the Health Ministry’s polio vaccination campaign, the wild strain of the virus found in sewage five months ago is still present. However, it has not been found at new locations, and is in decline or has been eradicated from places where it had previously been discovered.
Nevertheless, the wild strain is still showing up, and is extensive in the south. “Communities in which the wild polio strain is still active in sewage purification plants are Rahat, Be’er Sheva, Tel Sheva, Kseifa, Shoket and Arara,” the Health Ministry said. The ministry noted the virus was in slight decline in those communities but still “significantly present” in sewage.
A second group of communities in which the “irregular activity of the wild virus has been found” is Jaljulia, Ramle, Kiryat Gat and Lod. The Health Ministry said testing would continue in those communities to determine whether the virus was indeed on its way to disappearing entirely.
The wild strain of the virus has now been virtually eradicated in Jerusalem, Baka al-Garbiyeh, and Iron, however testing will continue in those locales because of what the ministry terms the irregular appearance of the virus.
Some 840,000 children under the age of nine have so far been vaccinated with the weakened live virus during the current campaign – 60 percent of the target population. With the school year underway, the Health Ministry has renewed its campaign to encourage parents to immunize their children, sending the message through the media and by personal phone calls and text messages to parents who have not yet had their children vaccinated.