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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


WOOD, D.J.; SUTTER, R.W.  and  DOWDLE, W.R.. Stopping poliovirus vaccination after eradication: issues and challenges. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2000, vol.78, n.3, pp.347-357. ISSN 0042-9686.

Since 1988 reported polio cases worldwide have declined by about 85% and the number of known or suspected polioendemic countries has decreased from over 120 to less than 50. With eradication of poliomyelitis approaching, issues potentially affecting when and how vaccination against poliovirus can be stopped become extremely important. Because of the potential risks and benefits inherent in such a decision, the best available science, a risk-benefit analysis, contingency plans, a stock pile of poliovirus vaccines, and the endorsement by the global policy-making committees will all be needed before vaccination can be discontinued. The scientific basis for stopping polio immunization has been reviewed by WHO. This Round Table article summarizes the current state of knowledge, provides an update on the processes and timelines for certification, containment, and stopping vaccination, and highlights some of the unanswered scientific questions that will be addressed by further research. These include whether transmission of vaccine-derived poliovirus strains could be sustained so that poliomyelitis could re-emerge in a future unvaccinated population and whether prolonged excretion of vaccine-derived poliovirus from individuals with immune deficiencies could be a mechanism through which this could occur.

Keywords : certification [standards]; immunization [trends]; poliomyelitis [prevention and control]; polioviruses [human 1-3]; pathogenicity.

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