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Polio is a serious acute viral illness that first infects the gut and then spreads to affect the nervous system. It is transmitted mainly through person to person contact (faecal-oral route) in areas where sanitation and personal hygiene are poor. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are considered countries with the highest risk of the disease. However, the disease can be spread to individuals in other countries who are not protected against the disease and outbreaks do occur.

Recommendations for travellers

A combination vaccine called Revaxis is available to protect adults against diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Children normally receive these vaccinations as part of the national UK schedule. Travellers should ensure that they have had a primary course of vaccine and receive a booster every 10 years if they are travelling to an area where diphtheria, tetanus or polio are considered high risk. As with all vaccines the clinical staff will advise during the travel consultation on all aspects of the procedure including vaccine dose schedule, contraindications to vaccination, any possible interactions with other vaccines or medications, the range of possible adverse effects from the specific vaccine and any queries. Written product information to retain for reference is also provided.