Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance

The Australian AFP clinical surveillance program was established in 1995 by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing as part of Australia’s commitment to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) program for the global eradication of poliomyelitis.
For more information on the AFP Surveillance strategy:
WHO AFP Surveillance

Since 2000, the AFP surveillance program has been coordinated at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and is conducted in collaboration with the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU). Paediatricians complete an APSU report card notifying the number of AFP cases they have seen each month.
For more information about the APSU:
Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit

The WHO target for AFP surveillance is notification of at least one non-polio AFP case per 100,000 children less than 15 years, which for Australia is equivalent to 48 cases in 2021. A further surveillance target nominated by WHO is for two faecal specimens to be referred for laboratory investigation from 80% of the notified AFP cases.

AFP Specimen Referral

The referral of faecal specimens from AFP cases facilitates the investigation of cases of poliomyelitis potentially due to vaccine associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP), circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDPV) or wild type poliovirus.
The specimens must be collected more than 24 hours apart, due to intermittent virus shedding, and within 14 days of the onset of paralysis when virus shedding is greatest. It is a requirement of the AFP surveillance program that the specimens are referred to the National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory, accredited by WHO for poliovirus testing.
For more information on specimen referral:
Specimen Referral

Questionnaires for Clinical Surveillance

All clinicians notifying a case of AFP are requested to complete a clinical surveillance questionnaire. The questionnaire and laboratory test results are reviewed by the Polio Expert Panel. In the event that the committee is unable to classify the case, the clinician is contacted to provide further information.
Questionnaires are available from the Downloads sidebar.
For more information and return of the electronic questionnaires, please contact the AFP Surveillance Co-ordinator via Telephone: 03 9342 9607