Global Transmission of Live Polioviruses: Updated Dynamic Modeling of the Polio Endgame

Risk Anal. 2021 Feb;41(2):248-265. doi: 10.1111/risa.13447. Epub 2020 Jan 20.


Nearly 20 years after the year 2000 target for global wild poliovirus (WPV) eradication, live polioviruses continue to circulate with all three serotypes posing challenges for the polio endgame. We updated a global differential equation-based poliovirus transmission and stochastic risk model to include programmatic and epidemiological experience through January 2020. We used the model to explore the likely dynamics of poliovirus transmission for 2019-2023, which coincides with a new Global Polio Eradication Initiative Strategic Plan. The model stratifies the global population into 72 blocks, each containing 10 subpopulations of approximately 10.7 million people. Exported viruses go into subpopulations within the same block and within groups of blocks that represent large preferentially mixing geographical areas (e.g., continents). We assign representative World Bank income levels to the blocks along with polio immunization and transmission assumptions, which capture some of the heterogeneity across countries while still focusing on global poliovirus transmission dynamics. We also updated estimates of reintroduction risks using available evidence. The updated model characterizes transmission dynamics and resulting polio cases consistent with the evidence through 2019. Based on recent epidemiological experience and prospective immunization assumptions for the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, the updated model does not show successful eradication of serotype 1 WPV by 2023 or successful cessation of oral poliovirus vaccine serotype 2-related viruses.

Keywords: Dynamic modeling; eradication; polio; poliovirus vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Eradication
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control*
  • Poliomyelitis / transmission*
  • Poliovirus / immunology*
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated*
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Management
  • Vaccination


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral