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Who is at highest risk for getting Polio?


Children under the age of 5 are considered most at risk for polio.1

Other risk factors for polio may include:2 3 4 5

  • Travel to an area where an outbreak of polio has recently occurred or where polio is common
  • Having an immune system disorder (primary immunodeficiency, HIV infection)
  • Taking care of or living with someone who is infected with polio
  • History of tonsillectomy
  • Strenuous physical activity or extreme stress after exposure to the poliovirus
  • Pregnancy

Individuals who receive an intramuscular injection within 30 days of exposure to the poliovirus (wildtype, vaccine strain, vaccine derived) are at higher for developing paralytic polio.6 7 8 9

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Polio and the Polio vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1 WHO Poliomyelitis July 22, 2019

2 Johnson S Polio Healthline Oct. 10, 2016

3 Guo J, Bolivar-Wagers S, Srinivas N et al Immunodeficiency-related vaccine-derived poliovirus (iVDPV) cases: a systematic review and implications for polio eradication. Vaccine. 2015 Mar 3;33(10):1235-42

4Tonsillectomy and Poliomyelitis Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1954 Aug; 44(8): 1065–1067.

5 Horstmann DM. Acute poliomyelitis relation of physical activity at the time of onset to the course of the disease. J Am Med Assoc. 1950 Jan 28;142(4):236-41.

6 Mawdsley SE. Polio provocation: solving a mystery with the help of history. Lancet. 2014 Jul 26;384(9940):300-1.

7 Strebel PM, Ion-Nedelcu N, Baughman AL Intramuscular injections within 30 days of immunization with oral poliovirus vaccine--a risk factor for vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis. N Engl J Med. 1995 Feb 23;332(8):500-6.

8 Gromeier M, Wimmer E. Mechanism of injury-provoked poliomyelitis. J Virol. 1998 Jun;72(6):5056-60.

9 CDC Relationship between inoculations and poliomyelitis Public Health Rep. May 1952; 67(5):495

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