News of the WeekInfectious Diseases

Polio Outbreak Raises Questions About Vaccine

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Science  08 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5498, pp. 1867-1869
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5498.1867b

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A small cluster of polio cases in the Dominican Republic and Haiti marks both the first polio outbreak in the Western Hemisphere in more than 9 years and the first reliable report that a vaccine-derived polio strain may have reverted to a virulent form and spread contagiously. Although a massive vaccination campaign already in the works is expected to contain the outbreak, the unusual incident raises troubling questions about a vaccine that has been in widespread use for nearly 40 years.