Samaritan Infectious Disease - International Travel - Vaccine Information

Polio, inactivated (IPV)

Disease Description: Poliomyelitis is an acute viral infection that involves the gastrointestinal tract and occasionally the central nervous system. It is acquired by fecal-oral or oral transmission. Clinical manifestations of poliovirus infection range from asymptomatic (most infections) to symptomatic, including acute flaccid paralysis of a single limb to quadriplegia, respiratory failure, and, rarely, death.

Risk to Travelers: Because of polio eradication efforts, the number of countries where travelers are at risk for polio has decreased dramatically. Most of the world´s population resides in areas considered free of wild poliovirus circulation, including the Western Hemisphere, the Western Pacific Region (which includes China), and the European region. Vaccination is recommended for all travelers to polio-endemic or epidemic areas. As of September 2008, these areas include some but not all countries of Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

Prevention - Vaccine: A person is considered to be fully immunized if he or she has received a primary series of at least three doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), three doses of live oral poliovirus (OPV), or four doses of any combination of IPV and OPV. To eliminate the risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis, OPV has not been recommended for routine immunization in the United States since January 1, 2000, and is no longer available in this country.

Vaccine Adverse Effects: Minor local reactions (pain and redness) can occur following IPV.

Vaccine Contraindications: IPV should not be administered to persons who have experienced a severe allergic (anaphylactic) reaction after a previous dose of IPV or to streptomycin, polymyxin B, or neomycin.

Vaccine Booster Recommendations: A single lifetime booster dose is recommended for adults who have written documentation of having completed a primary series.


Information adapted from CDC Health Information for International Travel (the Yellow Book),