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Israel launches nationwide polio booster campaign

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August 18, 2013 11:22 AM EST | AP


JERUSALEM — Israel is launching a nationwide campaign to give a polio booster to all children under 9 after a rare discovery of the virus.

Itamar Grotto, director of Israel's public health service, said the campaign started Sunday. The move is being taken after a strain of the virus was found in sewage in southern Israel in June. Experts believe the strain originated in neighboring Egypt.

Israel already immunizes its children against the disease. The new campaign gives a second boost of protection.

There have been no clinical cases of the virus, which can lead to paralysis or death. But some child carriers have been identified in Israel.

Polio remains endemic in only three countries worldwide: Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.