According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is an outbreak of polio in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, and all travellers to the country should be vaccinated against the disease. The outbreak is due to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), a marker of poor oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage.
The disease affects the nervous system and is spread through contact with the faeces of an infected person and by drinking water or eating food that is contaminated with infected faeces. Symptoms tend to be minor and include fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. However, the disease is crippling and potentially deadly.
The UN is supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea in launching a vaccination campaign to vaccinate children under five in Morobe, Madang, and Eastern Highlands Provinces. Adults who have been fully vaccinated are advised to receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine before travelling.