A three year old, unvaccinated, girl in Israel has been infected with polio. It is the nation's first confirmed case since 1988 (file photo)
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Israel finds first case of polio in over 30 years in three year old girl who was NOT vaccinated against the virus

  • A three year old Israeli girl has been infected with polio, the first such case in the country since 1988
  • The girl is not vaccinated, according to officials, though she is still in the appropriate window of receiving the jab
  • Where she got the virus from, and whether she has spread it, have not been determined by officials
  • Polio cases outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan are rare as the virus has largely been controlled over past decades

A three year old girl in Jerusalem, Israel, has come down as the first case of polio in the Middle Eastern country in over 30 years, local officials report.

The girl, who was unnamed by the Jerusalem District Health Bureau was not vaccinated against the virus, which has largely been defeated around the world due to widely available jabs.

It is the first Israeli case of the potentially debilitating virus since 1988. Officials have not yet determined the origin of the infection, or whether she has passed it on to anyone else.

Polio infection can be catastrophic, causing an infected person to suffer paralysis. Vaccines are widely available, though the virus still remains a problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A three year old, unvaccinated, girl in Israel has been infected with polio. It is the nation's first confirmed case since 1988 (file photo)

A three year old, unvaccinated, girl in Israel has been infected with polio. It is the nation’s first confirmed case since 1988 (file photo)

The young girl’s case was reported to local health authorities after she felt symptoms of paralysis, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A spokesman said that the case was likely vaccine-derived polio, which is a mutation of the strain used for the oral polio vaccine distributed across the world.

The young girl was not yet vaccinated. In Israel, children are recommended to get the vaccine as soon as they can, though the window of recommendation does not end until seven years old. 

It has not been reported whether the girl’s parents had plans to get her vaccinated in the future.

While this is the first confirmed case of polio in the country since 1988, the virus has been detected in wastewater, meaning that there has been some undetected spread.

Eradicating polio has been a challenge for health officials for decades, but their efforts have been a great success.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the virus has been around since ‘ancient times’, citing records that the ancient Egyptians were aware of the condition, and the paralysis that comes with it. 

Prevalence of polio has greatly declined in recent decades after the emergence of the vaccine in the 1950s.

Polio has existed since ancient times but has been largely controlled in recent years due to the emergence of an effective vaccine in the 1950s. It remains an issue in much of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pictured: Pakistani children receive an oral polio vaccine

Polio has existed since ancient times but has been largely controlled in recent years due to the emergence of an effective vaccine in the 1950s. It remains an issue in much of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pictured: Pakistani children receive an oral polio vaccine

The World Health Organization has prioritized the eradication of polio, which at this point may not be possible.

The virus has reached an endemic phase in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and while not as devastating as it was in previous years, its rapid spread makes it hard to control.

It often spreads through fecal matter contaminating water or other food or drink that goes into a person’s mouth. 

It can also spread via person-to-person contact. 

In its most devastating cases, the virus will move into a person’s central nervous system and cause paralysis.

The United States has not recorded a polio case since 1979, and nearly all of the nation’s children receive a vaccine for the virus in their young age. 

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