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Israel urges parents to vaccinate children after polio traces found in sewers


14:24, June 20, 2013

JERUSALEM, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Parents in southern parts of Israel, whose children are not vaccinated against the polio virus, rushed Wednesday to local health centers after traces of the virus were found last week in sewage waters near their communities.

Last week an inspection into the sewage system in Israel's southern communities led to the discovery of the polio virus, a deadly virus that is almost eradicated worldwide, in some Bedouin cities as well as other big cities like Beersheva, Kiriat Gat and Ashdod.

Israeli Health ministry has issued a statement in which it urged families with small children to be extremely careful with their hygiene.

"Officials are currently raising awareness through media outlets on the importance of taking some precautions such as; washing hands after using the toilet, before touching food and after changing diapers," the statement read.

So far there are no reports of anyone infected, though the ministry claimed that there a few thousand children in the south are not vaccinated and are at risk.

Representatives from the World Health Organization are expected to arrive in Israel next week to investigate the source of the virus, which is believed to have come from Egypt, since the strain of polio is very similar to the one found in Egypt last December, according to Ha'aretz.

Israelis are relatively safe regarding polio that can lead to paralysis and in some cases, death, since the vaccination rate in the country is high, with 95 percent of the population inoculated against the virus.

Authorities recommended that anyone who has been exposed to sewage water in the south and is experiencing symptoms such as vomits, nausea, fever, muscle pain or fatigue, should see a doctor immediately.

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