The Enterovirus Reference Laboratory is responsible for virological
testing of specimens from patients with acute flaccid paralysis
(AFP), the major clinical presentation of poliomyelitis.
WHO requires specimens from AFP cases to be tested in an accredited
laboratory which for Australia is the national poliovirus reference
laboratory at VIDRL.
The Enterovirus Reference Laboratory also tests poliovirus isolates
from routine clinical procedures and untyped enteroviruses. The
laboratory has worked closely with the Australian AFP clinical
surveillance program since it was established in 1995. Click
here for more information.
The WHO polio eradication program specifies the following criteria
for testing specimens from AFP cases:
· Two faecal specimens, collected 24 hours apart and within
2 weeks of onset of symptoms.
The WHO polio program focuses on children under 15 years of age
with AFP but the laboratory will test specimens from AFP cases
of all ages in Australia. Referral
of specimens to the poliovirus reference laboratory
All specimens are cultured for virus isolation. Poliovirus isolates
are further tested by intratypic differentiation to determine
if the virus is a wild or vaccine strain. Non-polio enterovirus
isolates are tested to identify the specific serotype.
For more information on the activities of the laboratory:
Reference Laboratory 2012 annual report published in CDI