US agency Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a level 2 travel alert for polio-endemic Asian countries following the outbreak of the disease. According to reports, the level 2 travel alert stated that all those planning to go to polio-stricken countries will have to show proof of polio vaccination before flying out of the country. The guidelines were issued based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control.
The travel alert also states before going out of the country, adults who have received polio vaccinations during their childhood will have to get a lifetime adult dose of polio vaccine known as the Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) booster. According to the CDC, polio endemics have been reported in Asian countries such as Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. According to reports, the World Health Organisation had extended travel restrictions on Pakistan due to frequent outbreaks of poliovirus type 2(cVDPV2( and polio-virus type 1(WP1).
After the very first case of polio was detected in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Malaysia’s health authorities on December 15 said they are working with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to bring polio vaccines to the state.
On December 6, a three-month-old infant was diagnosed with polio after being admitted to a hospital with a fever and muscle weakness, the first such case since 1992. Even the neighbouring nation of the Philippines reported its first cases of polio since 1993 in September. The two cases were linked as the polio strain was similar to the one detected in the Philippines, the Malaysian authorities said.
Polio (Poliomyelitis) is an infectious viral disease that mainly affects young children. According to the World Health Organisation, the virus is transmitted by person-to-person and it spreads mainly through the faecal-oral route or by a common link such as contaminated water or food and multiplies in the intestine.
Cases due to wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99% since 1988 from 3,50,000 cases to 33 cases in 2018. Polio symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, pain in the limbs. Currently, Afganistan and Pakistan are the only two countries with wild polio circulation.