Feb 20 polio report updated; Jakarta’s dengue menace

More on the vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV) cases reported in Papua province last month: one child with acute flaccid paralysis due to infection with cVDPV1 and an asymptomatic community contact were identified in remote Yahukimo district, near the PNG border (but not associated with the outbreak in PNG). The WHO reports that the ‘exact extent and timing of the outbreak response is being finalized’ and more than 5,000 local children have now been immunised with bivalent oral polio vaccine. The agency has categorised the risk as moderate ‘at the national level due to the sub-optimal polio vaccination coverage and surveillance quality’ in the province. As such, the Temporary Recommendations extended under the continuing Public Health Emergency of International Concern (see below) apply: ‘persons of all ages residing in polio-infected countries and long-term visitors to such countries (i.e. persons who spend more than four weeks in the country) should have completed a full course of vaccination against polio in compliance with the national schedule. In addition, they should receive an additional dose of OPV or IPV within four weeks to 12 months of travel to boost intestinal mucosal immunity and reduce the risk of poliovirus shedding, which could lead to reintroduction of poliovirus into a polio-free area.’ See the CDC travel health notice here. At the Feb 19 meeting of the Twentieth IHR Emergency Committee, it was decided that in view of the increase in WPV1 cases experienced globally last year and an unprecedented number of outbreaks of cVDPV in recent years, the Temporary Recommendations under the IHR to reduce the risk of the international spread of poliovirus will be extended for a further three months.  

FIVE sub-districts of Jakarta have been hardest hit by dengue fever infections with almost 2,300 cases recorded city-wide to date this year; they are Kalideres, Pasar Rebo, Cipayung, Matraman and Jagakarsa. Up to Feb 8, more than 16,500 cases and 176 deaths have been reported. Highest rates of infection have been in East and West Java and East Java and East Nusa Tenggara. Read more

Advice for travellers

Polio is a potentially serious viral illness that is spread through contact with infected faeces or saliva. The risk to travellers is generally low, however vaccination is recommended for travel to affected regions and is a requirement for travel to/from some countries. If at risk, adults should have a booster to the childhood series. More on polio.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.