17 Feb 2017

Polio: Public Health Emergency of International Concern

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

The twelfth meeting of the Emergency Committee under IHR 2005 regarding the international spread of poliovirus[1] was convened on 7 February 2017, to review the data 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)
  • Guinea is no longer considered to be infected with WPV1 or cVDPV but remains vulnerable to the emergence and circulation of Vaccine Derived Poliovirus (VDPV).

NaTHNaC monitors the global polio situation, as detailed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and World Health Organization, and makes changes to country specific recommendations as new information becomes available.

Based on the WHO statement the polio vaccination recommendation for Guinea has been revised.

All other country specific polio vaccine recommendations and certificate requirements remain unchanged until further notice. See Country information pages for country specific recommendations.

As of 13 February 2017, the polio status of countries is outlined below [1].

States currently exporting WPV1 or cVDPV:

  • Pakistan

States infected with WPV1 or cVDPVs, but not currently exporting:

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

States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to international spread, and states that are vulnerable to the emergence and circulation of VDPV:

WPV1

  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic*
  • Chad
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Niger

cVDPV

  • Guinea
  • Madagascar
  • Myanmar
  • Ukraine

* Central African Republic 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

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.

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. 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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