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Global Status of Polio

According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI),* only 4 countries (Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan) remain polio-endemic, an all-time low. Egypt, which had been considered polio-endemic, has remained free of poliovirus transmission for over 22 months.

Plans are under way for immunization response activities in all affected countries.

Other countries that have reported imported polio cases or cases related to an importation in 2006 are Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Niger, Somalia, and Yemen. Chad last reported polio cases in December 2005. Eritrea, Mali, and Sudan reported imported polio cases in 2005 but have not reported additional cases for over 12 months.

Outbreaks of poliovirus continue to be a risk until poliovirus is eliminated worldwide, and the risk for infection is still present for susceptible people. Therefore, to protect themselves from polio, travellers should be sure they and their children are fully immunized according to the recommendations below.

Current Vaccination Recommendations

Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to polio-endemic or -epidemic areas. These areas include Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

More Information

Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus. The disease mainly affects children under 5 years of age. It is spread person-to-person when the virus enters the mouth of a person who has come in contact with the stool of an infected person (for example, by changing diapers and not washing hands before touching the mouth) or from fecal contamination of food or drinking water. Most people infected with the poliovirus have no symptoms, but some infections cause paralysis and even death. OPV has not been used in Australia since Nov 2005, however, it is used in many other counties and has played a major role in eliminating polio from large parts of the world. IPV and IPOL, which is given by intramuscular injection, is now use as preventative against polio.

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