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International Measures to Stop Spread of Wild Polio Virus (update 22)

24 February 2021

The 27th meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus, was convened by the WHO Director-General on 01 February 2021.

The committee agreed that the situation still constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of the temporary recommendations.

The global situation with polio virus is ongoing and TRAVAX users are urged to regularly check for new outbreaks and the latest individual country recommendations.

The committee provided the director-general with updated risk categories as below:

1. A certificate for polio vaccination under IHR (2005) is required for travellers from countries listed below, which are infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3, with the potential risk of international spread:

  • Afghanistan (WPV1)
  • Pakistan (WPV1)
  • Malaysia (cVDPV1)
  • Philippines (cVDPV1)
  • Yemen (cVDPV1)

2. While travellers are encouraged to carry proof of polio vaccination, there is no certificate requirement under IHR (2005) for the countries listed below, which are infected with circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (type cVDPV2), with or without evidence of local transmission, (*with the exception of Afghanistan, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines, which are also infected with WPV1 or cVDPV1):

  • Afghanistan*
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Iran
  • Liberia
  • Malaysia*
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan*
  • Philippines*
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tajikistan
  • Togo

3. The countries listed below are no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV:

  • Mozambique
  • Indonesia
  • Myanmar
  • China
  • Zambia

Advice for Travellers

Travellers should be encouraged to take strict precautions with food, water and personal hygiene. See the TRAVAX poliomyelitis page for further information.

In order to comply with the latest WHO temporary recommendations and also to avoid travellers receiving live oral polio vaccine unnecesarily when departing polio-infected countries, authorities in the UK have made the following vaccination recommendations:

  • Travellers should consider receiving a booster dose of a polio-containing vaccine if they have not had one in the past 12 months and will be visiting one of the polio-infected or potentially exporting countries (listed under points 1 and 2 above) for longer than 4 weeks. This advice supersedes the current advice in the Green Book)
  • Travellers should acquire this booster dose within 12 months of the date they plan to leave the polio-infected country.
  • Travellers visiting one of these countries for less than 4 weeks should ensure they are up-to-date with routine polio vaccination, including 10 yearly boosters.
  • Travellers should carry proof of vaccination. For countries listed under point 1 above, proof of vaccination should be documented on the standard International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP).
  • In addition, all travellers to countries still vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV (listed under point 3 above) should ensure they have had a full primary course of poliomyelitis vaccine and be offered a booster if it has been more than 10 years since their last dose.

International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis

The ICVP is the yellow booklet normally used for yellow fever vaccination. Failure to produce an ICVP when departing a polio-endemic country may result in the traveller being vaccinated on their departure, often using live oral polio vaccine (OPV). This may cause problems for individuals with weakened immune systems (including pregnancy) who should NOT receive live oral polio vaccine.

In Scotland:

Paper ICVP’s can be obtained from Public Health Scotland (PHS) by contacting TRAVAX administration:

  • Email your FULL NAME and FULL POSTAL ADDRESS to: phs.hpstravax@phs.scot
  • Please see TRAVAX POLIO FAQ's for further clarification.

Rest of UK:

Paper ICVP’s should be obtained from NaTHNaC:

Electronic versions of ICVP can also be downloaded from the World Health Organization website.