Health Department Issues Polio Vaccination Guidance

Monday, July 21, 2014
The Tennessee Department of Health, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is issuing polio vaccination guidance for individuals planning travel to and from 10 countries where wild poliovirus, or WPV, is currently known to be a threat. Those countries include:  Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Syria.

“Despite great effort and earlier progress made worldwide in reducing new cases of poliomyelitis, it has recently returned as a threat to public health,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.
“In the first half of this year, active transmission of poliovirus has occurred in 10 countries. What’s even more disturbing is information from the CDC that at least 40 countries previously deemed ‘polio-free’ have been affected by international travelers carrying the virus. To prevent a resurgence of this horrible disease here, we must more vigilant and take proper precautions.”

Before an effective polio vaccine was developed in the mid-1950s, polio was one of the world’s most frightening diseases. In 1952 alone, 3,145 Americans died from it and thousands more suffered crippling paralysis. Parents feared their children would contract the disease in swimming pools. They worried about their children and themselves being confined to wheelchairs or in heavy metal leg braces to walk, and placed in restrictive iron lungs to breathe. When an effective vaccine became available, many believed the disease was essentially eradicated.

Unfortunately, that is not true. Even though the largest public health initiative in history, involving numerous government and private sector partners, has attempted to eliminate polio worldwide, it remains a threat in several countries due to wars, civil disruptions, poverty and travel.

Tennesseans planning travel to one of the 10 countries with WPV circulation should talk with a health care provider who has expertise in travel medicine to ensure they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine series and have received a booster dose, if necessary. Polio vaccine has been required for children to enter child care or school in Tennessee for many years, but adult travelers fully vaccinated as children may still need a booster dose before traveling to these high-risk areas.

“The injectable polio vaccine we use today is extremely safe and effective at protecting your health,” said Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, director of the Tennessee Immunization Program. “There are very few medical issues limiting an individual’s ability to be vaccinated for poliomyelitis. As always, the polio vaccine can be administered at the same time when other routine or travel vaccines are provided.”

Dr. Moore said those planning travel abroad to any of the 10 countries should consult with their health care provider as soon as possible to evaluate their vaccination needs since some may require more than one dose and may need time to get the vaccine series. Polio vaccine for children and adults is available through private provider offices and county health departments across Tennessee. Adults in need of a recommended booster dose in advance of travel have the option to call their local health department to schedule a polio vaccine booster.

Bradley County EMS Reviews And Drills For Infectious Diseases

With the growing concerns of infectious disease, Bradley County EMS is being proactive and reviewing their infectious disease protocols. Current policies and procedures are being reviewed and updated. Personal protection equipment has been updated as well to provide the best protection to the EMS responders. Emergency responders are exposed to a variety of contaminates on ... (click for more)

Morning Pointe Of Hixson Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Morning Pointe of Hixson Assisted Living and Alzheimer's Memory Care is turning five. Officials said, "Come celebrate. Experience a day in the life of a Morning Pointe resident. Enjoy food, special activities and entertainment. Plus autograph the newly-released Hixson Family Genealogy Book. "   There will be a Kindermusik demo, mini art and baking classes along ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)