The journey of a stool sample: Understanding polio surveillance

In Pakistan and across the world, the poliovirus surveillance system and laboratory network are critical to eradication efforts.

Surveillance is one of the main pillars of the polio eradication initiative. By testing stool samples collected from children suffering acute flaccid paralysis – the clearest symptom of the virus – as well as samples taken from sewage water, we are able to find the poliovirus wherever it is hiding.

Pakistan’s polio surveillance system is one of the largest ever established in the world. Click through these pictures to learn about the journey of a stool sample there: From a child with suspected polio to the laboratory.


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By Roland Sutter, Research, Policy and Containment Team, Polio Eradication Department, WHO