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World Polio Day 2022

19 Oct 2022

World Polio day is held on the 24 October each year to highlight and support the ongoing global fight to #endpolio.

Polio, or paralytic poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious disease that affects the nervous system. It is caused by a virus.

Since 1988, polio cases have reduced worldwide by 99%. However outbreaks of polio still occur in countries with low levels of their population vaccinated against polio. Making sure countries have a high percentage of people vaccinated against polio is essential to stop polio spreading and prevent future outbreaks.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative works to eradicate polio worldwide so that people are properly protected against polio.

  • Because not enough people have been fully vaccinated everywhere, in several countries outbreaks of polio continue to happen and spread.
  • Eradicating polio will depend on vaccinators being able to get to children living in communities that are difficult to reach, for example remote areas or countries affected by war and conflict.
  • Globally, 2 of the 3 types of poliovirus have already been eradicated which shows that it is possible to achieve eradication of all types of poliovirus.

Advice to travellers

Polio is a serious infection caused by the poliovirus. Human beings are the only known reservoir of the virus. It can infect the spinal cord, causing inability to move parts of the body (paralysis) and in some cases can become life threatening. The virus enters your body through the mouth and spreads through:

  • contact with the poo from an infected person
  • droplets from a cough or sneeze from an infected person, although this is less common

Before travelling you should:

  • be up to date with polio vaccines that are given as part of the UK vaccination schedule - this means you should from childhood onwards have received at least 5 doses of polio vaccine
  • consider having a booster dose of polio vaccine if it has been more than 10 years since your last booster and you are travelling to a country where polio remains a problem
  • practice safe hand hygiene and food and water precautions during travel

Information on polio vaccination and certificate requirements can be found in the Immunisation and Alerts sections of each country page on fitfortravel.

More information on polio can be found on the fitfortravel Poliomyelitis page.