CDC Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions

Polio Outbreak Warnings Issued for 5 Countries

CDC Level 2 Travel Alerts issued for five countries due to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV)
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Papua New Guinea (Vax Before Travel)

Poliovirus Travel Alerts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now include 5 countries.

These CDC Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions Alerts recommend that all travelers to these countries be fully vaccinated against polio.

Additionally, adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of the polio vaccine before visiting these countries.

According to the CDC, these outbreaks are due to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage.

The oral polio vaccine contains an attenuated vaccine-virus, activating an immune response in the body. When a child is immunized with OPV, the weakened vaccine-virus replicates in the intestine for a limited period, thereby developing immunity by building up antibodies.

During this time, the vaccine-virus is also excreted. On rare occasions, if a population is seriously under-immunized, an excreted vaccine-virus can continue to circulate for an extended period of time.

The longer this virus is allowed to survive, the more genetic changes it undergoes. In very rare instances, the vaccine-virus can genetically change into a form that can paralyze, known as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since 2000, more than 10 billion doses of OPV have been administered to nearly 3 billion children worldwide.

As a result of this vaccination program, polio has been reduced by more than 99 percent. During that time, 24 cVDPV outbreaks have occurred in 21 countries, resulting in fewer than 760 VDPV cases.

Countries currently under CDC Travel Alerts:

Other countries reporting polio outbreaks in 2018 include:

  • Afghanistan
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. It is spread through contact with the feces 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, says the CDC.

In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function, known as paralysis.

Polio has been eliminated from the USA, and since 1979, no cases of polio have originated in the USA.

Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine (4 doses) given to people in the USA, says the CDC.

Travel vaccination appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

And vaccine discounts can be found here.   

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.