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PAEDS exceeds World Health Organization target for polio surveillance

PAEDS has exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) target for polio surveillance with stool collection from ≥80% acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases recruited in 2020 to date. PAEDS identifies AFP cases and supports the referral of stool samples to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) for testing for enteric pathogens.

To retain Australia's polio-free status, Australia must meet the WHO AFP surveillance targets related to case identification, stool collection and case investigation. PAEDS conducts AFP surveillance and monitoring for potential poliomyelitis cases contributing to the important goal of global polio eradication

Although Australia has maintained polio-free certification, ongoing difficulty in achieving adequate stool collection rates from AFP cases has been a challenge. In 2019, PAEDS nurses engaged in extensive communication across the network to understand the barriers to successful sample collection and to determine practical and adaptable strategies to overcome these barriers. As a result, PAEDS has exceeded this important target.

PAEDS will continue to implement its strategies to optimise stool collection from AFP in Australian children.

Read more about PAEDS surveillance work here.