25 Nov 2016

Polio: Public Health Emergency of International Concern update

An update on the polio Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) Polio: Public Health Emergency of International Concern update

The eleventh meeting of the Emergency Committee under IHR 2005 [1] was convened on 11 November 2016, to review the date on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (CVDPV).

The Committee concluded that:

  • the international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
  • Afghanistan is no longer exporting wild poliovirus, but is still considered to be an infected country with WPV1
  • Madagascar and Myanmar are no longer considered infected but remain vulnerable to infection.
  • Somalia has been removed from the list of countries that remain vulnerable to infection.

As of 11 November 2016, the polio status of countries is outlined below [1].

States currently exporting wild poliovirus or cVDPV:

  • Pakistan

States infected with wild poliovirus or cVDPVs but not currently exporting:

  • Afghanistan (WPV1)
  • Guinea (cVDPV)
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic (cVDPV)
  • Nigeria (WPV1 and cVDPV)

States no longer infected by wild poliovirus or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to international spread, and states that are vulnerable to the emergence and circulation of VDPV:

  • Cameroon (cVDPV)
  • Central African Republic* (cVDPV)
  • Chad (cVDPV)
  • Equatorial Guinea (cVDPV)
  • Niger (cVDPV)
  • Madagascar (cVDPV)
  • Myanmar (cVDPV)
  • Ukraine (cVDPV)

* Central African Republic was added on the basis that it is included in the coordinated response in the Lake Chad sub-region, and therefore considered subject to the same Temporary Recommendations as the other Lake Chad countries.

The polio status of countries is reviewed by WHO on a regular basis and polio vaccination recommendations are subject to change.
For polio vaccination recommendation for travellers to these countries see our Country Information pages.

Advice for travellers

Polio is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, either by exposure to water contaminated by infected human faeces, or by person to person contact. You should practise strict food, water and personal hygiene.

Independent of your destination, you should complete a primary vaccination course for polio according to the UK schedule. Travellers are encouraged to carry documentary evidence of their polio vaccination status.

An International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis is required by some countries see the Country Information pages for country specific information.

Advice for health professionals

All travellers regardless of destination should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK. All country specific polio vaccine recommendations and certificate requirements remain unchanged until further notice. See the Country information pages for country specific recommendations. 

For specific outbreak information, check our Outbreak Surveillance. The polio status of countries is reviewed by WHO on a regular basis and polio vaccination recommendations are subject to change.


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