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World Polio day, 24 October 2021

18 Oct 2021

World Polio day is held on the 24 October each year.  The day focusses on working towards eliminating polio.  Although since 1988, polio cases have reduced by 99.9% there are several countries that still get outbreaks.    Making sure countries have a high number of people vaccinated against polio is needed to stop polio spreading and prevent future outbreaks.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative works to eradicate polio worldwide so that people are protected against polio.

  • Because not enough people are vaccinated, outbreaks of polio continue to happen and spread in several countries across Asia and Africa.
  • Eradicating polio will depend on vaccinators being able to get to children living in communities that are difficult to reach for example remote areas or countries affected by war and conflict.
  • Globally, two types of poliovirus have already been eradicated which shows that eradication of all types of poliovirus is possible. 

Advice to travellers

Polio is a serious infection caused by the poliovirus. It can infect the spinal cord, causing inability to move parts of the body (paralysis) and in some cases can become life threatening.  The virus enters your body through the mouth and spreads through:

  • contact with the poo from an infected person
  • droplets from a cough or sneeze from an infected person, although this is less common

 Before travelling you should:

  • be up to date with polio vaccines that are given as part of the UK vaccination schedule - this means you should have received at least 5 doses of polio vaccine
  • consider having a booster dose of polio vaccine if it has been more than 10 years since your last booster and you are travelling to a country where polio remains a problem
  • practice safe hand hygiene and food and water precautions during travel 

Information on polio vaccination and certificate requirements can be found in the Immunisation and Alerts sections of each country page on fitfortravel.

More information on polio can be found on the fitfortravel Polio page.