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Public Health Alert over positive case of polio in Australia
Fri, 13th July 2007
Victorian health authorities have reported a case of polio in a 22 year old male who recently returned by plane to Australia from Pakistan.
The last case of wild type poliovirus infection in Australia occurred in 1986. The Western Pacific Region, including Australia, was certified as polio free in 2000, so any case of polio is a significant public
This afternoon a meeting of the Australian Health Protection Committee (AHPC) reviewed the case and agreed on national action to contact trace all passengers who travelled with the infected passenger and to isolate his Australian home contacts.
Passengers on Thai Airlines flight TG999 from Bangkok arriving in Melbourne on 2nd July 2007 should contact the National Public Health Info Line on 1800 004 599 for further information (8.30am to 10.00pm).
The patient, who has recovered from his initial paralysis, will remain in hospital in isolation until he is diagnosed polio free and his household contacts will be asked to remain in home quarantine until it is established that they are not infected.
While the risk to health care workers is very low, all staff who had contact with the patient will also be screened appropriately.
All Australian hospital emergency departments have been alerted to look out for any signs or symptoms of polio.
Passengers who travelled with the man are considered to be at low risk of contracting the disease. The risk of disease transmission to the general community is also considered to be low. However, polio is a highly infectious disease and it is appropriate to take precautionary measures.
Polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world except for a few countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
13th July 2007
From the Chief Medical Officer at the Australian Department of Health and Ageing
Media contact: Kay McNiece 0412 132 585