Commonly known as Polio, this is an acute viral infection that attacks the nervous system and can lead to paralysis. The polio virus has been eradicated in most of the world but still occurs in Pakistan and Afghanistan with imported cases occasionally occurring in other countries. The route of transmission is faecal-oral, usually related to unhygienic food handling, and/or directly from infected nasal secretions.

Poliomyelitis vaccination may be legally-required for individuals travelling to, or out of, countries with active polio transmission.


Vaccines against polio are very safe and effective. Although most Australians and New Zealanders will have been immunised as children, efficacy may wane with time. A booster dose is advisable if visiting a country where there is active transmission of the disease. For those individuals previously fully immunised, a single booster given as an adult will provide long term cover. The World Health Organization has recommended travellers be vaccinated if staying for longer than four weeks in countries affected by outbreaks of polio.