Global Certification of Eradication of Indigenous Wild Poliovirus Type 3

African man, woman, and child

Two of the three wild polio strains have now been eradicated in the world

The world is now one-step closer to achieving polio eradication with the announcement that wild poliovirus type-3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide. This means that two of the three wild polio strains have now been eradicated. As a result of persistent efforts to reach every child with polio vaccine, the genetic diversity of the wild poliovirus present in the world has dwindled to only one remaining type [wild polio virus type-1 (WPV 1)] and still circulates in only two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan).

Eradicating polio has been a worldwide effort over many years. Wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) was last detected in Aligarh, Northern India in 1999. The Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (GCC) made the official announcement that WPV2 had been eradicated worldwide on 20 September 2015. The GCC reached its conclusion after a review of formal surveillance data and documentation submitted by Member States and, the global poliovirus laboratory network. This announcement was a major landmark in the global efforts to eradicate all three wild poliovirus serotypes: WPV1, WPV2 and WPV3.

The last case of WPV3 was detected in Yobe, Nigeria on November 10, 2012, and the latest environmental WPV3 isolate was from a sample collected in Lagos, Nigeria, on November 11, 2012. No WPV3 cases have been detected in any country for more than six years. On October 17, 2019, the GCC met to conduct a similar evaluation of formal surveillance documentation and declare WPV3 eradicated.

The eradication of WPV3 signifies a promising step towards a polio-free world. WPV3 is only the third human infectious disease-causing pathogen to be eradicated in history, following smallpox and WPV2. WPV3 eradication represents a benefit to the health of future generations and underscores the potential to wipe out all forms of the poliovirus for good. We know what works to eradicate polio and the tools and strategies used to eradicate WPV2 and WPV3 will be used to end WPV1 for good as well. To eradicate the final strain of wild polio WPV1 and prevent another child from becoming paralyzed, however, will require renewed financial and political commitments from governments, donors, multilateral organizations and local communities from across the world.

Page last reviewed: October 24, 2019
Content source: Global Health