APH 2005, 63, 57-66:

Polio eradiction and laboratory containment programme of wild polioviruses in Belgium. Laboratory survey and inventory phase.

M. Sneyers, Ph. Herman, W. Moens

Keywords: containment, eradication, inventory, laboratory survey, poliovirus

The world will be declared free of wild poliovirus transmission when the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis is satisfied that all WHO Regions have documented the absence of wild poliovirus circulation for at least three consecutive years and all wild poliovirus materials in laboratories are adequately contained. Indeed, the risk of reintroduction of wild polioviruses from the laboratory to the community must be minimized. The Global Commission has established the requirements for laboratory containment of wild polioviruses. These requirements are described in two phases: the Laboratory Survey and Inventory Phase and the Global Certification Phase. The Laboratory Survey and Inventory Phase has been achieved in Belgium. A total of 411 institutions/laboratories have been surveyed in 2002 in order to identify those retaining wild poliovirus or potentially infectious materials. Taking into account the risk assessment performed on the 11 non-respondents and their exclusion from the survey, it has finally been considered that a 100% response rate has been reached. The laboratory survey has initially identified 8 laboratories holding wild poliovirus materials. In June 2004, this number was reduced to 5. All of these laboratories comply with the Belgian regional biosafety regulations on ‘contained use’ of pathogens and with WHO BSL-2/polio requirements. Belgium is now ready to initiate the Global Certification Phase. However, this phase will only begin when one year has elapsed without isolation of wild poliovirus anywhere in the world.