Progress Toward Polio Eradication - Worldwide, January 2018-March 2020

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Jun 26;69(25):784-789. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6925a4.


Since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was established in 1988, two of the three wild poliovirus (WPV) serotypes (types 2 and 3) have been eradicated.* Transmission of WPV type 1 (WPV1) remains uninterrupted only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This report summarizes progress toward global polio eradication during January 1, 2018-March 31, 2020 and updates previous reports (1,2). In 2019, Afghanistan and Pakistan reported the highest number of WPV1 cases (176) since 2014. During January 1-March 31, 2020 (as of June 19), 54 WPV1 cases were reported, an approximate fourfold increase from 12 cases during the corresponding period in 2019. Paralytic poliomyelitis can also be caused by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV), which emerges when attenuated oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) virus reverts to neurovirulence following prolonged circulation in underimmunized populations (3). Since the global withdrawal of type 2-containing OPV (OPV2) in April 2016, cVDPV type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreaks have increased in number and geographic extent (4). During January 2018-March 2020, 21 countries reported 547 cVDPV2 cases. Complicating increased poliovirus transmission during 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and mitigation efforts have resulted in suspension of immunization activities and disruptions to poliovirus surveillance. When the COVID-19 emergency subsides, enhanced support will be needed to resume polio eradication field activities.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Eradication*
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data
  • Endemic Diseases / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Poliomyelitis / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control*
  • Poliovirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Population Surveillance*


  • Poliovirus Vaccines