Polio Investigation Information for Health Departments

Reporting Suspected Cases of Polio

If testing reveals presence of poliovirus, follow the guidance for polio reporting:

Paralytic polio has been classified as “Immediately notifiable, Extremely Urgent,” which requires that local and state health departments contact CDC within 4 hours.

Non-paralytic polio has been classified as “Immediately notifiable, Urgent,” which requires that local and state health departments contact CDC within 24 hours.

CDC (Emergency Operations Center, 770-488-7100) will provide consultation regarding:

  • The collection of appropriate clinical specimens needed for poliovirus detection
  • The initiation of appropriate consultations and procedures to rule out or confirm poliomyelitis
  • The compilation of medical records

For more information about what should be collected as part of a case investigation see:

Each state and territory has regulations or laws governing the reporting of diseases and conditions of public health importance. These regulations and laws list the diseases to be reported and describe those persons or groups responsible for reporting such as healthcare providers, hospitals, laboratories, schools, daycare and childcare facilities, and other institutions. Contact your state health department for reporting requirements in your state.

Patients presenting with sudden onset of limb weakness and have an MRI with at least some gray matter involvement in the spinal cord should be reported to state/local health department as a possible case of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).

If you have received information about a PUI for AFM:

  • Complete the patient summary form in conjunction with the clinician,
  • Collect the requested clinical information (i.e., MRI report, MRI images, neurology consult notes, if done and available), and
  • Contact CDC (AFMinfo@cdc.gov) to coordinate the case classification process.

How to report an AFM PUI:

The following specimens should be collected by the clinician (part of testing for AFM includes testing for poliovirus):

  • AFM Specimen Collection Instructions
  • Note, it is critical to try and obtain two stool samples collected at least 24 hours apart, both collected as early in illness as possible and ideally within 14 days of illness onset (poliovirus is most likely to be detected in stool)
Page last reviewed: August 19, 2022