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Vaccination protection recommended for travel to countries with polio

All individuals travelling from Ireland to countries where polio transmission is occurring should ensure that they have appropriate polio vaccination to protect against this disease, warns the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) following confirmation of a case in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, one case of poliomyelitis had been confirmed in an unvaccinated child. The child had developed paralysis as a result of this infection.

The same virus was identified in household contacts of the child (siblings). The strain of the polio virus that had been identified was similar to a strain that originated in Pakistan and had also been identified in Tajikistan.

According to the HPSC, this specific strain was derived from a vaccine strain found in oral polio vaccines, which were no longer used in Europe.

The Government of Ukraine had officially notified World Health Organisation of the isolated virus on 3 October 2021 and publicly announced the case detection on 6 October 2021.

Local authorities, along with WHO teams are conducting further investigations to determine the source of the isolated virus and whether there has been transmission within Ukraine, and to assess any potential risk of further spread within Ukraine and other countries.

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