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Written by Roxanne Royce from Colorado Travel Health
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In India, 19 cases have been confirmed year-to-date.

Infectious Agent

The poliovirus (WPV) is a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA genome.

Mode of Transmission

Oral or fecal-oral spread.


Polio is endemic in India, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 2009, total case counts in these countries was 1256, and in India alone the total was 741. In non-endemic countries, recent outbreaks or cases (in 2009 or 2010 year-to-date) have occurred in the following countries: Angola; Chad; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Horn of Africa; Nepal; Tajikistan; and West Africa. Weekly updates can be found at:

Risk for Travelers

Areas with recent WPV circulation and their neighboring countries; and polio-endemic or epidemic areas are all considered risk areas for polio. Adults ≥18 whom have received a primary series during childhood should get vaccinated with a booster dose.

Clinical Presentation

Most infections are asymptomatic (void of symptoms), but those which are symptomatic can display the following: acute flaccid paralysis of a single limb or quadriplegia, respiratory failure and occasionally death.


Stool specimens can reveal the virus for up to 4 weeks after onset of illness.


No specific anti-viral treatment is available, only supportive measures and treatment of symptoms.

Preventive Measures

For Adults ≥ 18 whom have received a primary series during childhood, a single booster prior to travel is recommended. [Protective immunization with a primary series is achieved with 3 doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV); 3 doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) or 4 doses of any combination of IPV and OPV. OPV, however, is no longer available in this country (only IPV)].


CDC. Poliomyelitis. [Cited 2010 April 30]. Available from:

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