CDC Issues Advisory on New Polio Vaccination Requirements

On May 5, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) accepted the recommendations of an emergency committee, declaring the international spread of polio to be a public health emergency of international concern and issued vaccination requirements for travelers in order to prevent further spread of the disease.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory providing guidance to all clinicians in the U.S.

According to the CDC advisory, U.S. clinicians should be aware of possible new vaccination requirements for patients planning travel for greater than four weeks to countries with ongoing poliovirus transmission.

The May 5 WHO statement names 10 such countries, three designated as “exporting wild poliovirus” (Cameroon, Pakistan, and Syria) that should “ensure” recent (4 to 52 weeks before travel) polio boosters among all departing residents and long-term travelers (of more than 4 weeks), and an additional seven countries “infected with wild poliovirus” (Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia, and Nigeria) that should “encourage” recent polio vaccination boosters among residents and long-term travelers.