The probability of undetected wild poliovirus circulation after apparent global interruption of transmission

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 May 1;175(9):936-49. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr399. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


The Global Polio Laboratory Network maintains active surveillance for circulating live polioviruses by obtaining and testing stool samples from patients with acute flaccid paralysis. However, most poliovirus infections occur with no symptoms, and questions remain about the probability of undetected wild poliovirus (WPV) circulation after the apparent interruption of WPV transmission in different populations. In the context of making decisions about the timing of oral poliovirus vaccine cessation following global eradication of WPV, policy-makers need an understanding of this probability as a function of time. Prior modeling of the probability of undetected circulation relied on relatively simple models and assumptions, which limits extrapolation to current conditions. In this analysis, the authors revisit the topic and highlight important considerations for policy-makers related to the impact of initial conditions and seasonality and emphasize the need to focus on appropriate characterization of conditions in the last likely reservoirs of the virus. The authors conclude that the probability of undetected WPV circulation may vary significantly for different poliovirus serotypes, places, and conditions, which suggests that achieving the same level of confidence about the true interruption of WPV transmission will require different periods of time for different situations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Poliomyelitis / transmission*
  • Poliovirus*