Brief Alerts

Prepare Against Poliomyelitis

Source: Schrope M. Nature News. 2001;411:405.

Neurology Alert readers may remember our report earlier this year in April 2001, of young persons in the Dominican Republic who developed acute poliomyelitis in 2000 (Neurology Alert 2001;19:59-60). Presumably, the acute disease was due to a rare breakthrough of a virus strain used in oral vaccination. This new report, however, cites 2 cases of poliomyelitis paralysis in Bulgaria caused by a wild virus (not partially inhibited) which matched a strain from India. Both cases came from peripatetic gypsies. Health workers estimated that each clinical case of the disease implied that at least 100 asymptomatic persons had been infected by the virus and engendered the antibodies. Nevertheless, each of the 100 asymptomatic cases could have passed the virus to 100 more possible persons in their environments. Prompt vaccination in all Bulgarian children is in progress. Neurology Alert again warns our readers to advise their families and patients to be promptly vaccinated for poliomyelitis or, if already vaccinated, to acquire a booster if they anticipate traveling anywhere but First World countries. —Fred Plum