POLIO OUTBREAK IN SYRIA OF GREAT CONCERN

For many clients of The Travel Doctor, a polio vaccination is recommended.  It may seem odd at first thinking that you received the vaccine as a child, but a booster should be heavily considered when visiting regions where polio is once again a cause for concern.     Polio was diagnosed in Nigeria over ten years ago and pilgrimages for the Hajj may have spread the virus among thousands of attendees.  The World Health Organzation (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) soon became aware of a possible spread of the virus to countries with large Islamic populations.  While Nigeria may have been the host site, the incidence of polio in this country has been reduced by 99% after an aggressive vaccination program; and India, which reported over 300 cases by 2011, reported no cases in 2012.  That’s great news, but there’s always a but.  Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Syria and now Cameroon are still confirming polio diagnoses in children and efforts to vaccinate in these countries is meeting some opposition whether it be fear, war, civil strife, politics or religious beliefs.     The recent outbreak among Syrian children is thought to have come from either Pakistan, Afghanistan or Tajikistan.  Despite previous successful vaccincation programs in Syria, the ongoing war has all but eliminated any vaccination program, much less access to the vaccine and those qualified to administer it.  As a result, WHO, the CDC, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF are concerned that the outbreaks among refugee children could potentially carry the virus to Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and other countries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions.  Even Israel reported finding the active polio virus in their sewer sytem in April, 2013.     Below are the CDC guidelines for the adult vaccination schedule.  If you are traveling to one of these areas, prevention is your only answer and the CDC recommends the following schedule.  You may think the sugar cube you received in elementary school was enough for a lifetime, but adults too need to be vaccinated especially when traveling to areas where the virus is confirmed.  Below are the CDC guidelines for the adult vaccination schedule.   The Travel Doctor always has polio vaccine in stock, so if you’re traveling to a polio confirmed area or in close physical contact (this also means planes, trains and automobiles) with those visting regions of concern, it’s best to be up-to-date and prepared.   If you have any questions, please call us at 214.361.0995…we’re here to help.

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