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From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
August 3, 2005

Seroprevalence of Poliovirus Antibodies Among Children in a Dominican Community—Puerto Rico, 2002

JAMA. 2005;294(5):548-549. doi:10.1001/jama.294.5.548

MMWR. 2005;54:580-581

1 table omitted

Although the Region of the Americas was certified as polio-free in 1994, an outbreak of paralytic poliomyelitis associated with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) occurred during July 2000–July 2001 on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. A total of 21 cases of paralytic polio associated with type 1 oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) strain were reported in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR).1 Outbreaks from cVDPV occur among children in communities with low immunity levels to polioviruses and the absence of circulation of wild poliovirus (WPV).2,3 The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico (PR), located approximately 72 miles east of DR, has not had a case of paralytic polio since 1974. However, because of its proximity to DR and concerns that visitors and immigrants from DR (who tend to live in a separate community in PR) might not be fully vaccinated against polioviruses, the PR Department of Health (PRDH) and CDC assessed the seroprevalence of poliovirus antibodies among children aged 7-60 months in a predominantly DR community of PR. This report describes the results of that assessment, which indicated high levels of seropositivity for all three poliovirus serotypes. If vaccination rates remain high, the risk for a polio outbreak in this community is low. However, until all threats of poliovirus are eliminated globally, high rates of vaccination among preschool children must be ensured to prevent outbreaks of paralytic polio from any source (e.g., imported WPV, laboratory strains, or cVDPV) in the United States and its territories.

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