This untreatable virus gives some people flu-like symptoms and nausea and 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis.

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Key Fact

The world-wide vaccination campaign has led to a 99% reduction in polio cases.1


  • How do people catch these disease?

    • The polio virus spreads from person to person.1,2
    • You can get it by eating food or drinking water contaminated by faeces of someone who has the virus, or from coughs and sneezes.2
  • Which countries are affected?

    Most countries are now free of polio. The risk of polio is greatest in Asia and Africa.2,3

  • What are the symptoms?

    Fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs.1,3

  • How serious is the disease?

    Polio can be fatal. Severe polio causes paralysis of the legs and arms, and sometimes of the muscles used to breathe.1,3

  • Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit your nearest convenient specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip4
  1. World Health Organization. Factsheet. Poliomyelitis. March 2018. Available online: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/
    (Last accessed May 2018)
  2. Zentrum für Reisemedizin. Poliomyelitis (Kinderlähmung). Available online: http://www.reisemed.at/krankheiten/poliomyelitis-kinderlaehmung (Last accessed May 2018)
  3. Gesundheit. GV.AT. Polio. Available online: https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/lexikon/p/lexikon-poliomyelitis1 (Last accessed May 2018)

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