You're at greatest risk of polio if you haven't been immunized against the disease. In areas with poor sanitation and sporadic or nonexistent immunization programs, the most vulnerable members of the population — pregnant women, the very young and those with weakened immune systems — are especially susceptible to experience paralysis if they are infected with poliovirus.

These factors also increase your risk if you haven't been vaccinated:

  • Travel to an area where polio is common or that has recently experienced an outbreak
  • Living with or caring for someone who may be shedding poliovirus
  • A compromised immune system, such as occurs with HIV infection
  • Having had your tonsils removed (tonsillectomy)
  • Extreme stress or strenuous physical activity after being exposed to poliovirus, both of which can depress your immune system
Mar. 11, 2014