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Clin Infect Dis. 1992 Feb;14(2):568-79.

Epidemiology of poliomyelitis in the United States one decade after the last reported case of indigenous wild virus-associated disease.

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Division of Immunization, National Center for Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


Poliomyelitis caused by wild poliovirus has been virtually nonexistent in the United States since 1980, and vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) has emerged as the predominant form of the disease. We reviewed national surveillance data on poliomyelitis for 1960-1989 to assess the changing risks of wild-virus, vaccine-associated, and imported paralytic disease; we also sought to characterize the epidemiology of poliomyelitis for the period 1980-1989. The risk of VAPP has remained exceedingly low but stable since the mid-1960s, with approximately 1 case occurring per 2.5 million doses of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) distributed during 1980-1989. Since 1980 no indigenous cases of wild-virus disease, 80 cases of VAPP, and five cases of imported disease have been reported in the United States. Three distinct groups are at risk of vaccine-associated disease: recipients of OPV (usually infants receiving their first dose), persons in contact with OPV recipients (mostly unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated adults), and immunologically abnormal individuals. Overall, 93% of cases in OPV recipients and 76% of vaccine-associated cases have been related to administration of the first or second dose of OPV. Our findings suggest that adoption of a sequential vaccination schedule (inactivated poliovirus vaccine followed by OPV) would be effective in decreasing the risk of VAPP while retaining the proven public health benefits of OPV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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