Polio in Papua New Guinea
What is polio?
Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. It is spread through contact with the feces (poop) of an infected person. It is also spread by drinking water or eating food that is 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 there is loss of function of the muscles used for breathing or an infection of the brain.
- There is an outbreak of polio in Papua New Guinea.
- CDC recommends that all travelers to Papua New Guinea be fully vaccinated against polio.
- Adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine before travel.
What is the current situation?
An outbreak of polio has been reported in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.
What can travelers do to prevent polio?
- Get the polio vaccine: CDC recommends that all travelers to Papua New Guinea be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.
- Ask your doctor or nurse to find out if you are up to date with your polio vaccination and whether you need a booster dose before traveling. Even if you were vaccinated as a child or have been sick with polio before, you may need a booster dose to make sure that you are protected.
- Make sure children are vaccinated.
- See the Polio Vaccine Information Statement for more information.
The outbreak in Papua New Guinea is attributed to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage. CDC recommends a single lifetime inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) booster dose for previously vaccinated travelers to countries with cVDPV outbreaks. See the Vaccine section in Chapter 3, Poliomyelitis, CDC Health Information for International Travel, for specific vaccination details.
- Poliomyelitis in Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases—“Pink Book”
- Polio Vaccination Information for Healthcare Professionals
- Page created: July 12, 2018
- Page last updated: July 12, 2018
- Page last reviewed: July 12, 2018
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