About the initiative
The polio surveillance program monitors polioviruses both in Australia and overseas and maintains our Poliovirus Infection Outbreak Response Plan for Australia.
Through the program we invest in capabilities to prevent, prepare for, monitor and respond to the threat of polio in Australia.
Why it is important
Australia is considered polio free, but the virus is still circulating overseas. The polio surveillance program ensures we maintain our polio-free status, and we contribute to eradicating polio globally.
The polio surveillance program monitors all polioviruses to:
- detect imported cases
- mitigate the risk of localised transmission
- provide ongoing evidence that Australia is maintaining its polio-free status according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
Meeting our goals
In 2019, we carried out a national poliovirus reintroduction and outbreak risk assessment. The risk assessment concluded that the risk of wild-type poliovirus or vaccine-derived poliovirus reintroduction, resultant outbreaks, and sustained transmission occurring in Australia is low.
We developed the reintroduction and outbreak risk assessment methodology to simplify future assessments, generate evidence for targeted investment and provide a framework for other countries to evaluate their polio risk.
We maintain the Poliovirus Infection Outbreak Response Plan for Australia. The response plan clarifies the roles and responsibilities for state and territory health departments, advisory committees, organisations and clinicians if there is a polio outbreak. Under the plan, a single case of polio in Australia is a public health emergency and triggers the response plan.
We publish annual reports from the polio surveillance program in Communicable Diseases Intelligence.
Who we work with
We work with the National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory to manage the program.
We also work directly with the WHO Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication in the Western Pacific Region.