Global Polio

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

Key points

  • Some international destinations have circulating poliovirus (listed below and shown in map).
  • Before any international travel, make sure you are up to date on your polio vaccines.
  • Before travel to any destination listed below, CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.
Map: Countries where a booster dose of polio is recommended before travel
Map: Countries where a booster dose of polio is recommended before travel (see larger map)
What is polio?

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Good hand washing practices can help prevent the spread of this disease. Because the virus that causes polio lives in the feces (poop) of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating (pooping). People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.

Most people with polio do not feel sick. Some people have only minor symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis). Polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralyzed or if there is an infection of the brain.

What is the current situation?

The following destinations have circulating poliovirus (see map):

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt (healthcare facilities, refugee camps, and humanitarian aid settings only)
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Senegal
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Togo
  • United Kingdom
  • Yemen
  • Zambia

What can travelers do to prevent polio?

Get the polio vaccine

Children should be up to date on their routine polio vaccines.

Adult travelers should get an inactivated polio vaccine booster if they:

  • are going to a destination that has circulating poliovirus;
  • have completed their routine polio vaccine series; and
  • have not already received one adult booster dose.

Clinician Information

Ensure that anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status completes the routine polio vaccine series before international travel.

Additional Information

Traveler Information