polio - MASTA Travel Health | For All Your Vaccination advice


Poliomyelitis (Polio) infection is caused by a virus which affects the nervous system and can lead to permanent paralysis, usually of the legs. Only a small number of cases become more serious. Most people infected will have very mild symptoms, or none at all.
  • Symptoms Fever, tiredness, headache, vomiting, muscle stiffness in back and neck, pain in the limbs.
  • How do you catch polio? Polio can be spread from person to person - through coughs or sneezes or contact with infected human waste – or by eating/drinking contaminated food and water.
  • Incubation period 7 – 10 days
  • Diagnosis A stool or tissue sample is sent to a laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.


A vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus is part of the UK routine vaccination schedule. A booster can be given if needed. Food and water hygiene is important - wash hands frequently and avoid contact with water that might be contaminated with sewage.


There is no cure for polio. Medications can be given to ease fever, pain and vomiting. Medical support with breathing may be needed if the breathing muscles are affected.

Vaccination options

Part of the standard UK vaccination schedule, a booster is offered to travellers combined with diphtheria and tetanus.

Level of protection: ~ 95-100%

Protection duration: 10 years.

How is it given: Single booster injection.

Ideally start: Booster is suitable for last minute travellers who have had a complete course in the past.

£41.00 Pricing shown is per dose

  • Some countries require a ‘proof of vaccination’ certificate.
  • The polio virus mainly affects young children under 5 years.
  • Polio has been eradicated in many countries. Countries where it still occurs are monitored closely by the World Health Organisation.
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