Polio and International Travel

By Jennifer Read

polio vaccineRecently, the CDC issued a recommendation that people traveling to 10 countries in Africa and the Middle East, including Israel, should get a polio vaccine or booster shot before visiting.

Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that public health workers have been trying to eradicate for over 60 years. Here in the U.S., we’re fortunate. Thanks to aggressive vaccination efforts, our country has been polio-free since 1979.

But with over a billion people crossing international borders each year, vaccine-preventable diseases rarely seen in South Carolina could make their way here. Recently, the World Health Organization declared the international spread of polio to be a public health emergency following 417 new cases of the disease in 2013.

CDC recommends anyone visiting Israel for longer than 4 weeks should get a polio vaccine or booster shot at least one month prior to traveling as a precaution.

Our Immunizations division recommends that anyone traveling out of the country should always visit the CDC’s travel website for updated information on vaccine recommendations by destination.

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