Expert Warns of Shattering Israeli Public Health Image if Polio Returns

A top epidemiologist in the State of Israel recently warned about the adverse effects of polio, were it to return to the country. In his words, it could lead to paralysis amongst the children in the country and shatter its global reputation as the leader of public health. Moreover, he believes that it will discourage tourism as well.  In the last couple of decades, this is the first time that the Jewish state has reported that a child has become sick due to polio. In addition, two other children were tested for the disease, who turned out to be positive but asymptomatic. All three reside in Jerusalem. While some people are not worried about the reemergence of polio due to the fact that just a couple of months ago, the country was tracking significant coronavirus figures, doctors have issued a warning. 

In their opinion, the situation is more serious than it is appearing to be. As of now, the international health community is making efforts to get rid of polio once and for all. So far, it has managed to reduce the number of cases by around 99%, ever since the global initiative was launched back in the 1980s. Recent discoveries have revealed that Israel is now just one of the 23 total countries to have cases of polio in the last year. The World Health Organization, which is leading the initiative to eradicate polio, stated that the disease only exists in countries that are poor and the most marginalized. In such areas, it stalks children, who are the most vulnerable. 

In the global community, the Jewish state is revered for its remarkable vaccination campaign that it effectively ran against the coronavirus. However, now it has made its way onto the map of polio cases of the WHO, which consists of a wide range of poorer countries. Other countries also made an entry onto this map due to a single case in the last 12 months. These include Yemen, Malawi, Liberia, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. If the State of Israel logs in another clinical case, then it will rank alongside Ukraine, Somalia, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Mozambique. Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, the epidemiologist speaking out on the matter is a senior official in the doctor’s union of the country. 

It is his belief that Israel’s entry into the list sets a dangerous precedence and carries stigma. According to him, people are not being serious about Israel being marked as a country that has confirmed cases of polio. He went on to talk about how the disease has been marked for the purpose of eradication but has shown up in the Jewish state. The expert expressed worry at the fact that being on the list could harm the country’s reputation for being a leader in public health and deter people from visiting. He believes that specifically people who are immunocompromised will refrain from coming to Israel. Davidovitch also stated that being a part of the list could potentially impede the regional and global progress of eradication of the disease. 

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