Transmission of imported vaccine-derived poliovirus in an undervaccinated community in Minnesota

James P. Alexander, Kristen Ehresmann, Jane Seward, Gary Wax, Kathleen Harriman, Susan Fuller, Elizabeth A. Cebelinski, Qi Chen, Jaume Jorba, Olen M. Kew, Mark A. Pallansch, M. Steven Oberste, Mark Schleiss, Jeffrey P. Davis, Bryna Warshawsky, Susan Squires, Harry F. Hull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background. Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) has not been used in the United States since 2000. Type 1 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) was identified in September 2005, from an unvaccinated Amish infant hospitalized in Minnesota with severe combined immunodeficiency. An investigation was conducted to determine the source of the virus and its means of transmission. Methods. The infant was tested serially for poliovirus excretion. Investigations were conducted to detect poliovirus infections or paralytic poliomyelitis in Amish communities in Minnesota, neighboring states, and Ontario, Canada. Genomic sequences of poliovirus isolates were determined for phylogenetic analysis. Results. No source for the VDPV could be identified. In the index community, 8 (35%) of 23 children tested, including the infant, had evidence of type 1 poliovirus or VDPV infection. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the VDPV circulated in the community for ∼2 months before the infant's infection was detected and that the initiating OPV dose had been given before her birth. No paralytic disease was found in the community, and no poliovirus infections were found in other Amish communities investigated. Conclusions. This is the first demonstrated transmission of VDPV in an undervaccinated community in a developed country. Continued vigilance is needed in all countries to identify poliovirus infections in communities at high risk of poliovirus transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009


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