Highland Travel Medicine

Poliomyelitis

Poliomyelitis

 is a viral infection that causes acute infections within the gastrointestinal tract and occasionally the central nervous system. It is spread via fecal-oral and oral transmission. Prior to the discovery of the Polio vaccine in 1955, the incidence for acute infection was worldwide, especially in the summer and fall. Since the introduction of the polio vaccine, the incidence of disease in the United States has fallen dramatically. There have not been any wild type polio reported in the US in the last 20years. However, in some parts of the world, including Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the incidence is still prevalent and immunization should be considered when traveling to these and surrounding countries.


Vaccination

Polio vaccine is usually given in childhood, as a four part series of inactivated vaccine. Children receive the vaccine at 2, 4, and 6-18months, and then again at 4-6years. Adults fall into three groups regarding immunization. If an adult has never been vaccinated, then he should receive 3 doses at Day 0, 1-2months later and then 6-12months after the second dose. If an adult has had 1 or 2 doses previously, then he will receive the remaining doses. Finally, if an adult has received all childhood doses but is traveling to an endemic area, then he should receive a onetime booster.


People with allergic reactions to Neomycin, Streptomycin or Polymyxin B should not take this vaccine. Side effects of the vaccine include soreness at the site.