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Polio Remains a Global Health Risk

March 9, 2023 • 3:05 pm CST
U.S. CDC polio detections March 2023
(Vax Before Travel)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published an update to its Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions global polio travel notice.

The CDC says some international destinations, such as Israel, have circulating poliovirus.

As of March 7, 2023, there have been reports of four polio cases in children during 2023. And about 150,000 children in Israel remain unvaccinated against poliovirus.

Before traveling to any listed destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of a polio vaccine.

Furthermore, children should be current on their routine polio vaccines before traveling abroad.

The CDC says 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, neck and back stiffness, and arm and leg pain. In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function.

Polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralyzed or if there is an infection of the brain.

In 2022, the virus that causes polio was detected in the wastewater of cities such as New York, London, and Montreal.

In the U.S., polio vaccines are offered at most health clinics and community pharmacies.