The recent polio outbreak reported in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a notice for travelers to that country.


The outbreak in Papua New Guinea is attributed to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage. CDC recommends a single lifetime inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) booster dose for previously vaccinated travelers to countries with cVDPV outbreaks.

They advise travelers to ask their doctor or nurse to find out if you are up to date with your polio vaccination and whether you need a booster dose before traveling. Even if you were vaccinated as a child or have been sick with polio before, you may need a booster dose to make sure that you are protected.

Make sure children are vaccinated.

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. It is spread through contact with the feces (poop) of an infected person. It is also spread by drinking water or eating food that is 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 there is loss of function of the muscles used for breathing or an infection of the brain.