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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice Thursday for certain areas in Asia and Eastern Europe due to the risk of polio.

Image/cytis via pixabay

The federal health agency says the following countries/territories are currently considered high risk for polio: Afghanistan, Iran (healthcare facilities, refugee camps, and humanitarian aid settings only), Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Yemen.

Travelers to the above destinations should be fully vaccinated against poliovirus.

Adult travelers that (1) previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series, (2) have not yet received an adult booster dose, and (3) are going to any of the destinations listed above, should receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine. Even those who have been sick with polio previously may need a booster dose of polio vaccine.

To help prevent the international spread of polio, the World Health Organization recommends that the destinations listed above require residents and long-term (4 weeks or more) visitors show proof of polio vaccination before leaving the country.

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Good hand washing practices can help prevent the spread of this disease. Because the virus lives in the feces of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating. People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.

Most people with polio do not feel sick. Some people have only minor symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis). Polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralyzed or if there is an infection of the brain.