Environmental Surveillance of Polioviruses in Armenia, Colombia before Trivalent Oral Polio Vaccine Cessation
Although acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance is the “gold standard” for detecting cases of polio, environmental surveillance can provide supplementary information in the absence of paralytic poliomyelitis cases. This study aimed to detect the introduction and/or circulation of wild poliovirus or vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPV) in wastewater, covering a significant population of Armenia, Colombia, before trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) cessation. Between March and September 2015, 24 wastewater samples were collected from eight study sites in eight communes of Armenia, Colombia. Virus detection and characterization were performed using both cell culture (i.e., RD or L20B cells) and RT-PCR. Polioviruses were isolated in 11 (45.8%) of 24 wastewater samples. All isolates were identified as Sabin strains (type 1 = 9, type 3 = 2) by intratypic differentiation. Type 2 poliovirus was not detected in any of the samples. No wild poliovirus or VDPV was detected among the isolates. Non-polio enterovirus was identified in 8.3% (2/24) of the samples. This study revealed the excretion of Sabin poliovirus from OPV-immunized individuals, as well as the absence of VDPV and wild poliovirus in wastewaters of Armenia, Colombia. This confirms that environmental surveillance is an effective method, as an additional support to AFP surveillance, to monitor poliovirus during the OPV-to-IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) transition period.