[Transmission of poliomyelitis by drinking water and the problem of prevention]

Gesundheitswesen. 1995 Jun;57(6):351-4.
[Article in German]


The role of drinking water as a source of infection with wild poliovirus in modern cities was denied nearly 50 years ago on the basis of arguments taken from bacteriology. Recent findings concerning the persistence of viruses in water and their resistance to antibacterial agents applied to fresh water and waste water require a revision of those older concepts. There is now convincing evidence that in New York City, where poliomyelitis struck with extreme severity, drinking water was a main source of infection. The phenomenon of water-borne poliomyelitis may become important in the near future as well. Since population growth and scarcity of water in many parts of the world makes recycling of waste water necessary, the eradication campaign of the WHO must consider the possibility that strains of vaccine virus excreted by vaccinees will be reproduced forever.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Humans
  • New York City
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control
  • Poliomyelitis / transmission*
  • Population Growth
  • Risk Factors
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Purification