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Risks of Paralytic Disease Due to Wild or Vaccine‐Derived Poliovirus After Eradication

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After the global eradication of wild polioviruses, the risk of paralytic poliomyelitis from polioviruses will still exist and require active management. Possible reintroductions of poliovirus that can spread rapidly in unprotected populations present challenges to policymakers. For example, at least one outbreak will likely occur due to circulation of a neurovirulent vaccine‐derived poliovirus after discontinuation of oral poliovirus vaccine and also could possibly result from the escape of poliovirus from a laboratory or vaccine production facility or from an intentional act. In addition, continued vaccination with oral poliovirus vaccines would result in the continued occurrence of vaccine‐associated paralytic poliomyelitis. The likelihood and impacts of reintroductions in the form of poliomyelitis outbreaks depend on the policy decisions and on the size and characteristics of the vulnerable population, which change over time. A plan for managing these risks must begin with an attempt to characterize and quantify them as a function of time. This article attempts to comprehensively characterize the risks, synthesize the existing data available for modeling them, and present quantitative risk estimates that can provide a starting point for informing policy decisions.
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Keywords: Bioterrorism; decision analysis; disease outbreak; laboratory containment; polio eradication; risk analysis; vaccine‐associated paralytic poliomyelitis; vaccine‐derived poliovirus

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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