Australia reports first polio case since 1986 - highlighting importance of continued polio immunisation


On July 13 2007 Australian Health Authorities reported a case of polio in a 22-year-old male who recently returned by plane to Australia from Pakistan. Click here for further details.

The last case of wild type poliovirus infection in Australia occurred in 1986 and the Western Pacific Region, including Australia, was certified as polio free in 2000. Any case of polio is a significant public health concern.

The Australian Health Protection Committee are implementing a national action to contact trace all passengers who travelled with the infected passenger and to isolate his Australian home contacts. The patient, who has recovered from his initial paralysis, will remain in hospital in isolation until he is diagnosed polio free

Passengers on Thai Airlines flight TG999 from Bangkok arriving in Melbourne on 2nd July 2007 were asked to contact the National (Australian) Public Health Info Line on 1800 004 599 for further information.

HPSC is not aware of any Irish residents who may have been on this flight. However, if any individual in Ireland was on this flight they are encouraged to contact their local HSE Department of Public Health.

Polio is a highly infectious disease that can be prevented through immunisation. All Irish children should receive four doses of polio vaccine as part of the childhood immunisation programme. However, any individuals (child or adult) who are unsure of their immunisation status, particularly if they are travelling abroad to countries where polio is still reported (Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Niger, Somalia, Angola, DR Congo, Chad, Myanmar) should inform their doctor and receive polio vaccine as necessary. 

Ireland, together with the WHO European region was certified polio free in 2002. The last case of polio was reported in Ireland in 1984.

More information on polio can be found on the HPSC website by clicking here.