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Message for U.S. Citizens

Message for U.S. Citizens No 29: Polio Vaccination Reminder

January 30, 2013

The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to have up-to-date immunizations, especially the polio vaccine, in light of recent news from the World Health Organization that isolated strains of the polio virus were found in a sampling of untreated sewage in the impoverished neighborhoods of Al Salam and Al Haggana in Cairo.  The Egyptian Ministry of Health is initiating a campaign to vaccinate all Egyptian children who are under age five in these two areas of Cairo.

There is no need for alarm.  The last human case of polio in Egypt was reported in 2004, and so far there have been no new cases documented.  The polio vaccine schedule advised by the U.S. Advisory College of Immunization Practices and that which is recommended by the Department of State is as follows:

Children in the United States routinely receive four doses of polio vaccine before age six with the fourth dose after age four. Adults who received the polio vaccine as a child (either by oral or injected) are advised to receive one booster of polio vaccine if traveling overseas to countries where polio cases are still reported.

Please contact your current healthcare provider if you have questions regarding your immunization records.

The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Egypt.  For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website where the Worldwide CautionCountry Specific Information for Egypt, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts, can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App and the Android market to have travel information at your fingertips.  

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

U.S. citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy Cairo through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website.  If you enroll we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements and can also help your family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

For further information, U.S. citizens may call the Embassy’s American Citizens Services Unit at 2797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  Please refer to the American Citizens Services Facebook page at:  For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at 2797-3300.  The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.

As a matter of general practice, U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.