Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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 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
- Handling laboratory specimens that contain live 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
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