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Bull World Health Organ. 1995;73(5):597-603.

Epidemiology and clinical characteristics of acute flaccid paralysis associated with non-polio enterovirus isolation: the experience in the Americas.

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National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


The Pan American Health Organization adopted as a goal the interruption of transmission of wild poliovirus from the americas by 1990. Collection and processing of stool specimens from patients with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) to identify wild poliovirus is critical for monitoring the success of the eradication programme. In the study described, cases of AFP in children less than 15 years of age reported in the Americas from 1989 to 1991 were evaluated to investigate the epidemiology of AFP associated with the isolation of non-polio enterovirus (NPEV), to characterize their clinical presentation, and to compare their clinical characteristics with those of AFP cases associated with the isolation of wild poliovirus (confirmed as poliomyelitis). The results show that the notification pattern for AFP associated with NPEV isolates is similar to that for all AFP cases. While AFP associated with NPEV isolates generally differs clinically from confirmed poliomyelitis, 2-21% of cases met one of three case definitions for poliomyelitis. Following the eradication of poliomyelitis, countries can therefore anticipate the continued reporting of cases of AFP that clinically mimic poliomyelitis but which are associated with NPEV. The study also confirms that NPEV circulation is common and that most isolates were from cases that did not resemble poliomyelitis. It is therefore questionable whether characterization of NPEV isolates is essential for global eradication of poliomyelitis and consequently whether allocation of resources for that purpose can be justified.

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