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W. Java Polio Outbreak No Threat to Bali Travelers

Ministry of Health and World Health Organization Moving Quickly to Immunize 5.2 Million Children in West Java to Interrupt Virus Transmission.

(5/9/2005) After managing to remain free of new cases of polio infection for nearly 10 years, on April 21, 2005, the National Polio Laboratory in Bandung, West Java, confirmed a case of wild poliovirus isolate from an acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) case affecting an eighteen-month-old girl in the village of Giri Jaya, Sukabumi District, West Java.

As of May 5, 2005, a total of 4 cases of polio have been confirmed - 3 in the same village where the first case was discovered and an additional infection in an adjoining village.

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health have responded quickly to contain the outbreak and interrupt a chain of transmission that has been tracked from Sudan (Africa) and mirrors recently isolated viruses in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Among the steps underway by authorities in Indonesia are active house-to-house searches for paralyzed children in communities in the area of confirmed cases; official notices to all provinces in Indonesia to aid in the identification of any widening of the outbreak; and a massive mopping up immunization of all children age 5 or less in West Java, Banten and Jakarta that is being conducted over the months of May and June 2005 targetting 5.2 million children.

Risks

According to information provided by the WHO, experience in polio eradication demonstrates that outbreaks can be quickly contained with high quality immunization campaigns aimed at children under the age of five years. Due to global eradication efforts the number of cases have been reduced from 350,000 in 1988 to just 1,267 cases in 2,004.

Indonesia has been an active participant in the world-wide polio eradication campaign, a factor expected to help quickly interrupt the just-discovered chain of transmission. Nation-wide immunization campaigns were carried out in Indonesia each year from 1995 to 1997 with sub-national campaigns in 1999, 2000 and 2001. A renewed national campaign was implemented in 2002 to maintain high levels of immunity among Indonesian children. As a result, over 90% of all Indonesian children are immunized with the newest cases affecting children who have not been vaccinated.

What You Need to Know

Most people get polio vaccines, given in 4 doses, when they are children starting at 2 months until approximately 5 years of age. Children and adults are therefore usually not at risk of a polio infection if they have been immunized.

Adults who have never been vaccinated should get three doses of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) administered over a period of 6 months to one year.

Please Note: Always seek the direct advice of your physician for what you need to do to ensure you're adequately vaccinated against polio and other contagious diseases.

No Current Polio Threat to Bali Visitors

Visitors to Bali are not considered at risk in the current polio outbreak for a number of reasons, including:

Because of almost universal vaccination against polio, most visitors already posses an immunity from the disease.

The current outbreak of 4 cases in Indonesia is in a very limited geoghraphical area - limited to two adjacent villages in West Java.

An immediate immunization response in the affected villages in conjunction with a massive mopping up immunization in West Java is expected by officials to halt the current chain of transmission.

Intense disease surveillance measures have now been put in place that should ensure any new cases of the disease in West Java or elsewhere in Indonesia are immediately identified.