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August 20, 1997

Status of the Global Laboratory Network for Poliomyelitis Eradication, 1994-1996

JAMA. 1997;278(7):537-538. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070029015

IN 1988, the World Health Assembly adopted the goal of global poliomyelitis eradication by the year 2000.1 Since then, appropriate strategies have been developed, and substantial progress toward the implementation of these strategies has been reported from each region of the World Health Organization (WHO).2,3 The establishment of sensitive surveillance systems to detect polio cases and poliovirus is critical to guide program activities and eventually permit the certification of polio eradication. This report describes the proficiency of the global laboratory network, which operates in each WHO region and provides virologic laboratory support to all countries with endemic polio.

The WHO Global Laboratory Network comprises 67 national laboratories, 14 regional reference laboratories, and six specialized reference laboratories. The national laboratories process stool specimens from cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) to detect poliovirus and identify serotypes. The regional reference laboratories confirm the identity of