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Polio Outbreak in Israel is No Cause for Alarm, Says Cdc

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Americans planning to visit Israel need not worry about the recent outbreak of polio there, according to an expert at the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

“Polio is not a reason not to go to Israel or to change our travel schedule while there, so long as the standard of your immunization is updated,” said Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the Division of Immunization at the Atlanta health agency.

His statement was made public this week by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, through its National Committee on Tourism to Israel.

Earlier this month, a health adviser at the CDC urged tourists to get inoculated before departing for Israel. “We strongly advise a traveler getting the vaccine at this time,” Jim Mize told the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia.

The Conference of Presidents stressed in a statement issued Monday that the nationwide vaccination program launched by the Israeli Health Ministry this month was a preventive measure, not an emergency.

Most countries in the world inoculate their entire populations against the disease, the World Health Organization has reported.

Tourists coming to Israel need not have prior vaccination, the Israeli Health Ministry said. But it advised those who have never received the polio vaccine to consult their physicians.

Tourists in Israel have been able to receive vaccination free of charge under a program begun Oct. 12, the Israel Government Tourist Office announced.

For more information, persons planning visits to Israel may call the hot line maintained by the National Committee on Tourism to Israel, at (800) TRAVL-40.

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