16 Jul 2019

China: updated recommendations for polio vaccination

A case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) is confirmed China: updated recommendations for polio vaccination

As of 10 July 2019, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) reported a confirmed circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2); the virus was isolated from stool samples of a case of acute flaccid paralysis in Liangshan Yi Autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province. It is genetically linked to a VDPV2 isolated from an environmental sample from Xinjiang province, collected on 18 April 2018 [1].

China has a vaccination programme with both inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) with coverage of over 95% nationwide [1]. The last reported case of wild polio virus in China was in 1994 [2].

cVDPVs can arise in populations who are inadequately vaccinated and where sanitation and personal hygiene is poor. Like wild poliovirus, vaccine derived polio viruses (VDPV) have the potential to cause paralysis in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals [3].

TravelHealthPro Country Information vaccination recommendations for China has been updated to reflect this recent report.

Advice for travellers

cVDPV can be transmitted via the faecal-oral route, through exposure to water contaminated by infected human faeces, or by direct person to person contact. You are advised to practise strict food, water and personal hygiene.

Independent of your travel destination, you should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.

If you are travelling to countries reporting recent cVDPV, including China, you should make sure you have completed a full course of a polio-containing vaccine. Vaccines used in the UK will provide protection against all types of polio. If your last dose of polio vaccine was given 10 or more years ago, you should have a booster dose before travel to China.

Children who are travelling should be up to date with an age appropriate course of polio vaccine.

Other recommendations for polio vaccination apply to certain travellers and are given on the China Country Information page: vaccine recommendations.

For specific country advice, check our Country Information pages.

For specific outbreak information, check our Outbreak Surveillance section.

The polio status of countries is reviewed by World Health Organization on a regular basis and polio vaccination recommendations are subject to change.

Further details on the global polio situation can be found on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and WHO websites.

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