Certifying the elimination of poliomyelitis from Europe: Advancing towards global eradication

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Indigenous wild polioviruses have been virtually eliminated from the 51 countries of the european Region of the world Health Organization (WHO), an achievement that is of critical importance to the global initiative to eradicate poliomeylitis by the year 2000. An international commission has been established to certify the elimination of poliomyelitis from this region. european countries have recently been requested to establish National Certification Committees to review and submit the necessary documentation and surveillance data. In some Western European countries where polio has not been reported for many years, the challenge will be to produce robust evidence demonstrating both the current absence of wild poliovirus and the means to promptly detect and respond to possible importations of wild poliovirus for the next several years, up to global eradication and the cessation of polio vaccination. Key messages:laboratory-based surveillance with collection of faecal specimens is necessary to demonstrate the absence of indigenous wild polioviruscertification can only occur after all countries have demonstrated the absence of indigenous wild polioviruses for at least 3 years and have the means to detect and respond to importations of wild poliovirus for several years into the future.Any single case of poliomyelitis in europe now requires an immediate public health response which includes virological investigation and prompt notification to the world Health Organization.

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