Polio in Papua New GuineaUpdated August 23, 2018
There is an outbreak of polio in Papua New Guinea.
CDC recommends that all travelers to Papua New Guinea be fully vaccinated against polio.
Adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine before travel.
The outbreak in Papua New Guinea is due to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage.
What is the current situation?
An outbreak of polio has been reported in Morobe and Enga provinces, Papua New Guinea.
The outbreak in Papua New Guinea is due to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage. A vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV); because it has passed from child to child so many times, it has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus. This means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an infected person. These viruses may cause illness, including paralysis.
To control the outbreak, the United Nations (UN) is supporting the government of Papua New Guinea in launching a polio campaign to vaccinate children under 5 years old in Morobe, Madang, and Eastern Highlands Provinces.
What can travelers do to prevent polio?
Get the polio vaccine: CDC recommends that all travelers to Papua New Guinea be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.
Ask your 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.
See the Polio Vaccine Information Statement for more information.
CDC recommends a single lifetime inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) booster dose for previously vaccinated travelers to countries with cVDPV outbreaks. See the Vaccine section in Chapter 3, Poliomyelitis, CDC Health Information for International Travel, for specific vaccination details.
Poliomyelitis in Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases—“Pink Book”
Polio Vaccination Information for Healthcare Professionals
CDC Polio Homepage
Polio Vaccine Information Statement
Food and Water Safety
Page created: July 12, 2018
Page last updated: August 13, 2018
Page last reviewed: August 13, 2018
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)