Medical Q&As

Poliovirus - travelling to Egypt?

My wife and I are travelling to Egypt in May. Do we need to get a polio booster?

Egypt is on the verge of eradicating polio due to an effective immunisation campaign that has been run by the Ministry of Health and Population, with the help of the WHO and UNICEF. Prior to 1991 the annual number of new cases of polio in Egypt was approximately 3,000 per annum. Since late 1999 wild poliovirus transmission in Egypt has been localized to a few remote country districts. In 1999 there were 9 reported cases of polio in Egypt. The immunisation campaign has proved to be very effective. Assuming that both you and your wife have already had a course of polio immunisation during your childhood there is no need for you to receive a booster. In giving that advice I am assuming that you will not be straying away from the well trodden tourist path. A booster is recommended for health care workers, relief workers and those travelling, working or living for six months or longer in that country. If you are simply going there for a holiday there is no need for a booster provided you have completed a primary course of immunisation? Such immunisation should provide you with all the protection that you need.