Level 2 Travel Alert Issued by CDC for Papua New Guinea
In response to the continuing polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 2 Travel Alert.
The CDC now recommends that all travelers to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to be fully vaccinated against polio.
The outbreak in Papua New Guinea is attributed to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage.
The CDC recommends a single lifetime inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) booster dose for previously vaccinated travelers to countries with cVDPV outbreaks.
As previously reported on June 26, 2018, the National Department of Health of Papua New Guinea and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a strain of poliovirus first detected in Morobe Province in April is now circulating in the community.
The WHO said this outbreak is related to the under-vaccination in Morobe Province. PNG reported only 61 percent polio vaccine coverage of children.
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. Some people have only minor symptoms.
In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis). Polio can be fatal if there is a loss of function of the muscles used for breathing or an infection of the brain, says the CDC.
Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine (4 doses) given to people in the USA, says the CDC.
In the USA, certified travel pharmacies offer relevant vaccines.
Travel vaccination appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.
The CDC suggests international travelers check their polio immunization status with a healthcare provider before visiting these countries.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.