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J Virol Methods. 2005 Jun;126(1-2):127-34.

Environmental surveillance of wild poliovirus circulation in Egypt--balancing between detection sensitivity and workload.

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Department of Viral Diseases and Immunology, National Public Health Institute (KTL), Mannerheimintie 166, 00300 Helsinki, Finland.


Examination of sewage specimens for poliovirus (environmental surveillance) was adopted as a supplementary tool in the surveillance of poliomyelitis in Egypt. Sewage samples were concentrated about 50-fold using a simple two-phase separation technique, and inoculated in cell cultures in two collaborating laboratories in parallel. All but 9 of the 293 (97%) samples collected from January 2001 to December 2002 contained poliovirus and/or other enteroviruses, with polioviruses being detected in 84% of the samples. The proportion of specimens containing type 1 wild poliovirus (PV1W, the North-East African (NEAF) genotype) was less in 2002 (16%) than in 2001 (57%), and further decreased in 2003. While the overall sensitivity to detect PV1W was similar in the two collaborating laboratories, the specimens scored positive were not identical. Parallel cultures inoculated with aliquots of a given specimen very frequently resulted in isolation of different viruses. Moreover, partial sequence analysis occasionally revealed representatives of different genetic lineages of PV1W in a given specimen. These results emphasize the need to use intensive laboratory analysis to optimise sample sensitivity in environmental poliovirus surveillance, and the difficulties in reproducing the isolation results by simple re-inoculation of samples containing a mixture of different viruses.

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