TEL AVIV (Sep. 22)
Residents of a sprawling slum along the railroad tracks between Lod and Ramla were being given polio vaccinations Thursday, following discovery of the polio virus in sewage from the area.
The Health Ministry was reported to be considering vaccination of the entire population of the Lod-Ramla region, since the water samples, part of a nationwide testing program, proved contaminated.
The mass vaccination of the entire 150,000 residents of the Hadera area was begun Tuesday after an outbreak of poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis) there was confirmed last week.
The first stage, the injection of Salk serum into pregnant women and infants under a year old, was begun on Yom Kippur eve by teams of doctors, assisted by 120 nurses.
Arab doctors and nurses administered the vaccine in Arab towns and villages during Yom Kippur.
In the second stage, which began Thursday, the orally administered Sabin vaccine was given to 50,000 kindergarten and elementary school children. About 100,000 other residents under the age of 35 will receive the Sabin serum in later stages.
The immunization program is expected to last 10 days and will cost about $100,000.
The Health Ministry insists there is no epidemic, but rather a number of isolated cases among the 5 percent of the population without natural or acquired immunity to the disease.
So far there are only seven confirmed cases in the country and three suspected cases, ranging from mild to severe.
The confirmed victims include a 3-month-old boy and a 26-year-old resident of Or Akiva, near Hadera. Both were reported in serious but stable condition.
A 23-year-old soldier has been released from a hospital in Acre in good condition after treatment, and is now in an army convalescent home.
A 26-year-old Hadera woman who worked in Or Akiva has been paralyzed in an arm and a leg. Her condition is stable.
An 11-year-old boy from Givat Olga suffered partial paralysis of the legs.
A 10-year-old boy from Kibbutz Ein Shemer, near Hadera, has become ill.
A 9-month-old girl from Kiryat Gat, near Ashkelon, was the only case reported at considerable distance from Hadera.