Environmental surveillance of polioviruses in armenia, Colombia before trivalent oral polio vaccine cessation

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Although acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance is the “gold standard” for detecting cases of polio, environmental surveillance can provide supplementary information in the absence of paralytic poliomyelitis cases. This study aimed to detect the introduction and/or circulation of wild poliovirus or vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPV) in wastewater, covering a significant population of Armenia, Colombia, before trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) cessation. Between March and September 2015, 24 wastewater samples were collected from eight study sites in eight communes of Armenia, Colombia. Virus detection and characterization were performed using both cell culture (i.e., RD or L20B cells) and RT-PCR. Polioviruses were isolated in 11 (45.8%) of 24 wastewater samples. All isolates were identified as Sabin strains (type 1 = 9, type 3 = 2) by intratypic differentiation. Type 2 poliovirus was not detected in any of the samples. No wild poliovirus or VDPV was detected among the isolates. Non-polio enterovirus was identified in 8.3% (2/24) of the samples. This study revealed the excretion of Sabin poliovirus from OPV-immunized individuals, as well as the absence of VDPV and wild poliovirus in wastewaters of Armenia, Colombia. This confirms that environmental surveillance is an effective method, as an additional support to AFP surveillance, to monitor poliovirus during the OPV-to-IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) transition period.


  • María Mercedes González
  • Magile C. Fonseca
  • Carlos Andrés Rodríguez
  • Alejandra María Giraldo
  • José Joaquín Vila
  • Jhon Carlos Castaño
  • Leonardo Padilla
  • Luis Sarmiento
External organisations
  • Universidad del Quindío
  • Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute (IPK)
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Enterovirus, Environmental surveillance, Sabin polio virus
Original languageEnglish
Article number775
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 1
Publication categoryResearch