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Is polio contagious?

Page last updated 18 January 2022

Polio is very contagious. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that despite our progress in reducing the incidence of polio, the disease could still easily be imported into a polio-free country, such as Australia, and can spread rapidly amongst unimmunised populations. Failure to eradicate polio could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.

To protect yourself against polio (in addition to vaccination), it is recommended that travellers to polio-affected countries practice good health hygiene, such as washing hands regularly, avoiding at-risk areas and avoid sharing utensils.

Sources & Citations

4. Better Health Channel. Polio and post-polio syndrome. Available at: (accessed 07 December 2021).

7. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers’ Health. Polio. Available at: (accessed 07 December 2021).

MAT-AU-2102483  Date of preparation January 2022