Temporary Poliomyelitis Requirements – Travel advice – October 2017

In April 2014 a World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee met in order to discuss the transmission of wild polio viruses internationally. Countries currently infected with wild polio viruses and with potential risk of international spread include Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. According to the International Health regulations the transmission of polio viruses was declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and a decision about the implementation of temporary measures has been made. The WHO Emergency Committee regularly reviews the temporary recommendations every 3 months.

WHO recommend that travelers to countries considered at potential risk of international spread of polio, receive and show proof of polio vaccination within the past 12 months. According to WHO statement this applies to all travelers spending over 4 weeks in the affected country.

Taking this into consideration:

  • In general, all travelers to any of the polio-affected countries should ensure they are up-to-date with their national vaccination schedule and get vaccinated with a booster dose of a polio vaccine if it has been more than more than 10 years since their last dose.
  • In addition, travelers visiting a country categorized as infected with wild polio virus such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan who stay for more than 4 weeks should receive a dose of polio vaccine prior to their trip, and a proof of vaccination, if they have not had one in the previous 12 months. A certificate of vaccination may be requested in the country of destination at the airport on departure.

Travelers to a country infected with wild polio virus are advised to have their polio vaccination documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). For other travelers, it should be sufficient to have this recorded in an appropriate document, for example a stamped vaccination booklet or headed notepaper from the clinic.