An assessment of the geographical risks of wild and vaccine-derived poliomyelitis outbreaks in Africa and Asia

BMC Infectious Diseases
(Accessed 27 May 2017)

Research article
An assessment of the geographical risks of wild and vaccine-derived poliomyelitis outbreaks in Africa and Asia
Kathleen M. O’Reilly, Christine Lamoureux, Natalie A. Molodecky, Hil Lyons, Nicholas C. Grassly and Graham Tallis
BMC Infectious Diseases 2017 17:367
Published on: 26 May 2017
The international spread of wild poliomyelitis outbreaks continues to threaten eradication of poliomyelitis and in 2014 a public health emergency of international concern was declared. Here we describe a risk scoring system that has been used to assess country-level risks of wild poliomyelitis outbreaks, to inform prioritisation of mass vaccination planning, and describe the change in risk from 2014 to 2016. The methods were also used to assess the risk of emergence of vaccine-derived poliomyelitis outbreaks.
Potential explanatory variables were tested against the reported outbreaks of wild poliomyelitis since 2003 using multivariable regression analysis. The regression analysis was translated to a risk score and used to classify countries as Low, Medium, Medium High and High risk, based on the predictive ability of the score.
Indicators of population immunity, population displacement and diarrhoeal disease were associated with an increased risk of both wild and vaccine-derived outbreaks. High migration from countries with wild cases was associated with wild outbreaks. High birth numbers were associated with an increased risk of vaccine-derived outbreaks.
Use of the scoring system is a transparent and rapid approach to assess country risk of wild and vaccine-derived poliomyelitis outbreaks. Since 2008 there has been a steep reduction in the number of wild poliomyelitis outbreaks and the reduction in countries classified as High and Medium High risk has reflected this. The risk of vaccine-derived poliomyelitis outbreaks has varied geographically. These findings highlight that many countries remain susceptible to poliomyelitis outbreaks and maintenance or improvement in routine immunisation is vital.