At a press briefing regarding polio, the Minister of Health, Yael German, pointed out that the Ministry of Health is making preparations for the possibility that the need will arise for broadened immunization. "We are acting with the aim of obtaining relevant vaccine, and organizing further monitoring checks throughout Israel." The Minister emphasized that the issue is findings in the sewerage system in the South of the country, and not illness. "Nobody in Israel is currently ill with polio." There is a high immunization rate in Israel, of 95%. The Minister further emphasized that "The findings are in sewerage and not in drinking water. Drinking water in Israel is safe."
Prof. Itamar Grotto, director of Public Health Services, presented a survey of the actions taken by the Ministry of Health from the moment that, in a routine planned monitoring performed by the Ministry of Health, poliovirus was discovered. In the first stage, polio vaccinations were completed in Rahat for children and adults. Active contact was initiated by Tipat Halav mother and infant care centers throughout Israel with children up to the age of 6 for completion of vaccinations, including opening the centers on Fridays.
The public was continually updated through the media and through the Ministry’s website and facebook page.
Prof. Grutto explained that the Ministry of Health invited representatives of the World Health Organization and the CDC due to the trend of the spread of the virus to additional areas in the South, and the possible risk of clinical illness that arises from this. Israel is characterized by a special situation of massive monitoring of sewerage, a high level of immunization, environmental conditions of a Western country and location at the crossroads between the African, Asian and European continents.
The delegation from the World Health Organization toured the Negev, Rahat, the Bedouin dispersal and Beer Sheva, and was impressed by the high level of organization in the field of vaccinations in Israel as well as by the mobile vaccination station that makes its way between buildings of the dispersal. The delegation was also impressed by monitoring capability and the high level of immunization in Israel.
Prof. Grutto emphasized that the public must make sure to receive routine vaccinations and also to adhere to the rules of hygiene: washing hands before contact with food, and after visiting the toilet and changing diapers.
Public cooperation is the most important means for elimination of the virus.
 The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Roni Gamzu, pointed out that the Ministry is exercising the full weight of their judgment in managing the situation. "We have been seeing the presence of the virus in the sewerage system for several months. The presence of the virus has continued over time, and the virus is being excreted by residents in the South; the concern is that the virus is being transmitted from person to person; the situation therefore needs to be managed with careful exercise of judgment. We are working in cooperation with the World Health Organization and the CDC."
According to outline of actions to be taken that was agreed by consensus, it has been decided in the first stage to collect individual data from the residents and to obtain feces specimens in an epidemiological sample, in order to confirm whether the virus is carried by people, and to characterize this, whether it be in a small regional pocket or widespread.
Spread of the virus is also possible when a person is immunized; there is therefore a statistical probability for meeting a person who is not immunized, with consequent infection and even illness. In parallel, monitoring sites will be doubled in number from the present 16 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to 32 WWTPs. Close monitoring of various clinical conditions in hospitals will also be performed. In accordance with the findings that will be obtained, an updated assessment of the situation will be made, which may lead to the possibility of further vaccination of children up to the age of 8 in the South with live attenuated virus. (This is an improved vaccine from the safety aspect, manufactured in the last 3 years). The Ministry of Health is preparing for a logistic program for various possible assessments of the situation. Prof. Gamzu further noted: "We are managing events with daily monitoring, with transparency and explanations. In Israel there is a special situation; there is transmission from person to person, there is no illness, there is a high level of immunization, we are at a geographic crossroads between continents – Asia, Africa, Europe. We are performing serious assessment and we are prepared and preparing for possible action in order to minimize illness."