The U.S. and Over 30 Countries At-Risk for Poliovirus
When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its latest Travel Health Notice regarding countries reporting poliovirus detections.
Outbreak countries have stopped indigenous wild poliovirus but are experiencing re-infection either through the importation of wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus from another country or the emergence and circulation of vaccine-derived poliovirus.
To alert travelers, the CDC republished a Level 2 - Practice Enhanced Precautions notice on September 11, 2023, identifying 31 counties where various versions of poliovirus have recently been identified.
This infamous list includes modern societies such as Israel and the United Kingdom.
According to Global Polio Eradication Initiative reporting, the United States could have been on this list.
Following the isolation of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) in New York in July 2022, further virological and epidemiological analysis confirms the circulation of this strain.
There were 30 positive samples reported in 2022.
Since then, New York and public health authorities have implemented appropriate responses to this circulating VDPV2 to rapidly interrupt its circulation, including continuing to intensify surveillance efforts and proactively reaching out to communities with known immunity gaps to strengthen vaccination coverage.
Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the International Health Regulations classify the United States of America as a state infected with cVDPV2, with or without evidence of local transmission.
The USA is, therefore, subject to Temporary Recommendations issued by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Polio Eradication, published as of August 25, 2023.
This polio emergency has been extended for three months.
WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travelers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio.
.Separately, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine IPV series may receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine before traveling to any destination listed.
This advice is globally embraced, as polio is a crippling disease that affects the nervous system of people.
In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function.
Furthermore, polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralyzed or if there is an infection of the brain, says the CDC.