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Given Public Health Emergency, CDC Recommends Polio Vaccination for International Travelers — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 4, 2014

Given Public Health Emergency, CDC Recommends Polio Vaccination for International Travelers

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

The CDC has updated its recommendations on polio vaccination for travelers in light of the World Health Organization's recent declaration of polio as a public health emergency of international concern.

The CDC recommends that people planning to travel to a country with active wild poliovirus receive the inactivated poliovirus (IPV) booster. Travelers should document proof of immunization in the yellow International Certificate of Vaccination to avoid travel delays. The U.S. is not planning to change its requirements for U.S. entry.

In its declaration, the WHO noted that 10 countries have ongoing poliovirus transmission:

  • Cameroon, Pakistan, and Syria have recently exported wild poliovirus. Residents and people traveling to these countries for more than 4 weeks are required to receive IPV or oral polio vaccine 4 to 52 weeks before departing these countries.

  • Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia, and Nigeria are infected with poliovirus but have not yet exported it. Residents and long-term travelers to these countries are encouraged to get boosters.

Reader Comments (3)

Syamsa Latief Latief

When WHO declare polio had eradicataed?

Ken Huff, MD Physician, Neurology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

The association of acute paralysis and vaccines is probably exceedingly low (at least in children) (1). For me, as international traveler, these statements do not invoke fear but legitimate concern.
(1) Zangwill, KM, et al, Paralytic Syndromes in Children: Epidemiology and Relationship to Vaccination. Pediatr Neurol. 2010 Mar:42(3):206-12.

terry curran Physician, Ophthalmology

Does anyone ever consider the risk of Guillain-Barre when they make these kinds of statements which just invoke fear?

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