Background: Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) results in an ongoing burden of poliomyelitis due to vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis and circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPVs). This motivates globally coordinated OPV cessation after wild poliovirus eradication.
Methods: We modeled poliovirus transmission and OPV evolution to characterize the interaction between population immunity, OPV-related virus prevalence, and the emergence of cVDPVs after OPV cessation. We explored strategies to prevent and manage cVDPVs for countries that currently use OPV for immunization and characterized cVDPV emergence risks and OPV use for outbreak response.
Results: Continued intense supplemental immunization activities until OPV cessation represent the best strategy to prevent cVDPV emergence after OPV cessation in areas with insufficient routine immunization coverage. Policy makers must actively manage population immunity before OPV cessation to prevent cVDPVs and aggressively respond if prevention fails. Sufficiently aggressive response with OPV to interrupt transmission of the cVDPV outbreak virus will lead to die-out of OPV-related viruses used for response in the outbreak population. Further analyses should consider the risk of exportation to other populations of the outbreak virus and any OPV used for outbreak response.
Conclusions: OPV cessation can successfully eliminate all circulating live polioviruses in a population. The polio end game requires active risk management.
Keywords: disease outbreaks; dynamic modeling; oral poliovirus vaccine; polio eradication.
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