Polio vaccine

The polio vaccine could be one of the most lifesaving, and world changing vaccinations ever created, and is responsible for the eradication of polio from the Western world. However it would only take 1 infected person to come and spread infection again to an unvaccinated population.

Whilst most adults don’t need an immunisation as they were immunised as children, those who are travelling to areas with polio in the population should consider a booster.

Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It enters the body through the mouth. Usually it does not cause serious illness. But sometimes it causes paralysis (can’t move arm or leg), and it can cause meningitis (irritation of the lining of the brain). It can kill people who get it, usually by paralyzing the muscles that help them breathe.

Polio used to be very common in the Australia. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people a year before we had a vaccine.

Currently 2 countries in the world have never eradicated poliomyelitis, and these are Afghanistan and Pakistan.

There is also circulating polio as a result of outbreaks in Madagascar, Guinea and Ukraine.

The following countries are vulnerable to outbreak, and people spending time there should also consider a booster;

  • Cameroon
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Ethiopia
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Laos
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Syrian Arab Republic

It should also be considered at areas of large gatherings of international visitors, such as the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup or the Hajj.

Polio vaccine in Australia is given as inactivated polio virus, as opposed to the live virus given as an oral dose overseas. It can be given separately, or as part of the Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccination, and can be boosted every 10 years.

 

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