Information to travellers to polio-infected countries

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​​The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued temporary travel advice to polio-infected countries after declaring a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' on polio.

​The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued temporary travel advice to polio-infected countries after declaring a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' on polio.

Connected to this and upon the request of the European Commission, ECDC has drafted travel advice for EU Member States’ consideration regarding travel to the following polio-infected countries:

  • Polio-exporting countries: Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria, where cases of polio are reported and from which poliovirus has been exported in the recent past, and;
  • Polio-infected countries: Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria, which are infected with wild poliovirus but currently not exporting wild poliovirus to other countries.

 
ECDC's travel advice is as follow:

  1. Travellers from the EU who are fully vaccinated against polio according to the national immunisation schedule where they live and plan to travel to any of the 10 polio-infected countries should receive an additional dose of IPV. It is important that travellers to polio-infected countries acquire this additional IPV dose within 12 months of the date when they plan to leave the polio-infected country.
  2. Everyone who lives in or has stayed more than four weeks in a polio-infected country and plans to travel out of that country, should receive one additional dose of polio vaccine (IPV or OPV) not later than four weeks before and within 12 months of the date of departure from the polio-infected country.
  3. If someone who has stayed more than four weeks in a polio-infected country has to urgently travel out of that country (i.e. within four weeks), that person should receive a dose of polio vaccine at the latest by the time of departure unless he or she already received a dose within the last 12 months.In addition, ECDC has also issued general guidelines for travellers:
  4. Travellers should carry proof of their vaccination against polio using the WHO International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis document (‘Yellow Card’) when travelling to and from polio-infected countries.
  5. EU residents who have not been vaccinated against polio at all, or have not received a complete course of polio vaccinations, or are unsure about their vaccination status, should consult with their physician, a vaccination clinic or a travel health clinic for advice and vaccination. This advice is both for travellers to polio-infected countries and for all EU residents and citizens regardless of travel plans.
  6. The vaccination advice above applies to both adults and children under the age of 18 years. Because polio vaccine is administered to children as part of combination vaccines (one injection with several vaccine components) in the routine vaccination schedule, it is important to consult a physician or vaccination clinic for advice on the timing and choice of vaccine for children.
  7. The risk of coming into contact with poliovirus in a polio-infected country can be reduced by applying strict hand hygiene (washing hands with soap before preparing food and eating, and after going to the toilet) and by washing and peeling raw fruit and vegetables immediately before eating them.  These recommendations are temporary and will be reassessed in three months in accordance with the WHO’s decision on the PHEIC.

Read the travel advice 
 

More information:

Learn more about polio and how to prevent it

WHO temporary travel recommendations

WHO Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC)