Level 2 Travel Alert Regarding Polio Outbreak in Indonesia
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 2 Travel Alert regarding a polio outbreak in Papua Province, Indonesia.
The CDC said on February 28, 2019, that this outbreak is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV), a sign of low oral polio vaccine coverage in Indonesia.
VDPV cannot spread in the USA because of the high vaccination rates against polio and the oral polio vaccine is not used in the USA.
The CDC is recommending that all travelers to Indonesia be fully vaccinated against polio.
The CDC says adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of the polio vaccine.
And, the CDC recommends that all infants and children in the USA be vaccinated against polio, as part of a routine, age-appropriate vaccination series.
Visitors to Indonesia for more than 4 weeks may need an additional booster if the most recent dose of polio vaccine (completion of routine series or adult booster) was administered more than 12 months before the date of departure from Indonesia.
This Travel Alert is important since polio is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease.
Polio is caused by the poliovirus, which spreads from person to person, by drinking water or eating food that is contaminated with infected feces.
In certain cases, polio can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.
The oral polio vaccine (made from a weakened strain of the poliovirus) is given as drops in the mouth to protect against polio.
This vaccine has been extremely effective in wiping out polio in developing countries when most of the population gets vaccinated. In areas where there are low rates of vaccination against polio and sanitation is poor, the weakened vaccine virus can spread from person to person.
Over time, as the virus spreads, it can regain its ability to cause disease in people who are not vaccinated.
Besides the polio vaccines, the CDC suggests you are up-to-date on several Routine Vaccines before visiting Indonesia. Additionally, the CDC suggests Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations.
These vaccines and related medications can be found at most ‘travel-pharmacies’ in the USA.
Pre-trip, vaccine and medication counseling appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.
Additionally, on January 3, 2019, the US State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for Indonesia.
This ‘Exercise Increased Caution’ Travel Advisory is related to terrorism and natural disasters in Indonesia. Some areas have increased risk and Americans should reconsider travel to Central Sulawesi and Papua due to civil unrest.