Viruses in sewage waters during and after a poliomyelitis outbreak and subsequent nationwide oral poliovirus vaccination campaign in Finland

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1988 Feb;54(2):371-4. doi: 10.1128/aem.54.2.371-374.1988.


During an outbreak of paralytic poliomyelitis in Finland in 1984 and 1985 the widespread circulation of the causative wild-type serotype 3 poliovirus in the population was documented by demonstrating the virus in sewage water specimens in 13 different locations in the greater Helsinki district and in 13 other cities or towns all over the country. After the nationwide campaign with oral poliovirus vaccine in 1985, poliovirus serotypes 2 and 3 were readily isolated from sewage waters for up to 2 months, whereas type 1 poliovirus seemed to disappear from the sewage more rapidly. All of these isolates were temperature sensitive and therefore most likely vaccine related. The efficacy of the vaccination campaign in regard to elimination of the epidemic type 3 strain was evaluated by a follow-up study on viruses in sewage waters continued for 12 months through the subsequent expected season of poliomyelitis. Several types of enteroviruses, including five vaccine-related poliovirus strains, were identified in the 72 virus-positive specimens out of 93 studied. No wild-type polioviruses were found, indicating the success of the campaign.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Poliomyelitis / epidemiology*
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control
  • Poliovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral*
  • Sewage
  • Temperature
  • Vaccination
  • Water Microbiology*


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral
  • Sewage