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Polio Emergency Extended in Three Regions

November 25, 2021 • 7:47 am CST
(Vax Before Travel)

The WHO's Emergency Committee announced on November 23, 2021, it reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV) reported in various countries during 2021.

Three additional countries have been infected with cVDPV2, bringing the total number of currently cVDPV2 infected countries to 30 in three WHO Regions (African, Eastern Mediterranean, and European).

The three newly infected countries resulted from the international spread of cVDPV2, namely Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, and Ukraine.

The number of cVDPV2 cases in 2021 totals 420, of which 266 have occurred in Nigeria.

The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for three months.

The Committee recognizes the concerns regarding the lengthy duration of the polio PHEIC but concluded that there are still significant risks despite apparent progress made in the two endemic countries.

Therefore, the coming three months would be a critical period to monitor the situation closely. 

To alert Americans, the U.S. CDC recently reissued two high-level Travel Advisories for international destinations that are considered high risk for polio.

'Before travel to any high-risk destination, CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of a polio vaccine,' says the CDC.

A listing of polio vaccines can be viewed on this webpage.

On November 1, 2021, the CDC issued a Level 2 Advisory for Africa.

Previously, the CDC issued a Level 2 Advisory on October 14, 2021, for Asia and Eastern Europe.

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system.

Because the virus lives in the feces of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating. People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.