Poliomyelitis, or polio, is spread by 3 types of polio viruses found in food and water contaminated by the feces of an infected person. It is a highly infectious disease that can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of polio can range from asymptomatic to symptoms including acute flaccid paralysis, respiratory failure, and rarely death.
Canada and the rest of the Americas was declared “polio free” in 1994, but polio-free countries remain at risk for imported cases and outbreaks. Some travellers may be at risk for polio in certain countries.
How can I prevent Polio?
The polio vaccine is the best way to prevent polio. In Canada the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) is available. The live oral polio vaccine (OPV) is used in many other countries.
Who should receive the Polio vaccine?
The polio vaccine is provided free to infants and children as part of the routine vaccination schedule. A booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for travellers to countries with polio risk, as well as health care workers, including lab workers, who may be exposed to contaminated feces.
Polio vaccine schedule:
Adults who have never been vaccinated for polio require 3 doses of the polio vaccine at 0,1, and 6 months.
The adult booster dose of polio is given as a single dose and provides lifetime protection. A subsequent booster may be recommended for travel to certain high-risk countries that may have exit requirements for proof of polio vaccination.
Call us at 604-251-1975 to arrange an appointment or to receive further information about the polio vaccine.