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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Poliomyelitis in Syria (Update 4)

04 Oct 2017

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports 7 new cases of polio (cVDPV2) have been confirmed in the week to 3 October 2017. The cases are in Mayadeen district (5 cases),  Boukamal (1 cases) and Thawra district (1 case).

The most recent case, (Boukamal) is an unvaccinated child with onset of paralysis on 5 August. The total number of cVDPV2 cases in the current outbreak is 47.

Poliovirus infection has also been identified in samples taken from a healthy child who arrived as a displaced person in Damascus on 19 August 2017.

Advice for Travellers

Polio is spread mainly through person to person contact via the faecal-oral route. Particularly in areas where sanitation is poor therefore travellers should be encouraged to take strict precautions with food, water and personal hygiene.

Travellers should ensure that they have had a primary course of a polio containing vaccine and be offered a booster if it has been more than 10 years since their last dose. Additionally, travellers visiting this country for longer than 4 weeks should discuss with their travel health adviser whether it is necessary to receive a booster if they have not had one in the past 12 months. They should carry proof with them of when they last had this vaccination.

For further information see Poliomyelitis.