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Surveillance to Track Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, 2016–2017
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  • Pubmed ID:
    29649187
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5898223
  • Description:
    Global efforts to eradicate polio began in 1988, and four of the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions currently have achieved poliofree certification. Within the remaining two regions with endemic poliomyelitis (African and Eastern Mediterranean), Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan have never interrupted transmission of wild poliovirus (WPV). The primary means of detecting poliovirus transmission is surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) among children aged <15 years, combined with collection and testing of stool specimens for detection of WPV and vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs)* in WHO-accredited laboratories within the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) (1,2). AFP surveillance is supplemented by environmental surveillance for polioviruses in sewage from selected locations. Genomic sequencing of isolated polioviruses enables the mapping of transmission by time and place, assessment of potential gaps in surveillance, and identification of the emergence of VDPVs (3). This report presents poliovirus surveillance data from 2016-2017, with particular focus on six countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) and 20 countries in the African Region (AFR) that reported WPV or circulating VDPVs (cVDPVs) during 2011-2017. Included in the 20 AFR countries are the three most affected by the 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone), even though only one (Guinea) reported WPV or cVDPVs during the surveillance period. During 2017, a total of 14 (70%) of the 20 AFR countries and five (83%) of the six EMR countries met both surveillance quality indicators at the national level; however, provincial-level variation was seen. Surveillance strengthening activities are needed in specific countries of these regions to provide evidence supporting ultimate certification of the interruption of poliovirus circulation.

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