Poliovirus Containment

UW-Madison is committed to minimizing the risk of poliovirus release from our research and diagnostic laboratories.  All UW-Madison principal investigators must report the discovery or acquisition of any poliovirus materials to the Office of Biological Safety (OBS), as well as the disposal, destruction, or transfer of any poliovirus materials previously reported.  This information will be used to update our institutional poliovirus inventory with the U.S. National Authority for Containment of Poliovirus (NAC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Poliovirus materials include not only any poliovirus cultures and stocks, but also poliovirus potentially infectious materials (PIM).  PIM are materials that may unknowingly contain poliovirus because they were collected at a time and place where wild poliovirus or vaccine-derived poliovirus was in circulation or oral polio vaccine was in use.  Examples may include certain clinical specimens such as respiratory secretions and fecal samples, respiratory or enteric viral isolates, and environmental water samples.

To learn more about the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for Poliovirus Containment (GAPIII) please go to the Polio Global Eradication Initiative website. For more information about the NAC and U.S. efforts to contain polio, please go to the NAC poliovirus containment website.


Andrea Ladd
Biological Safety Officer
Phone: 608-263-9013
Cell: 608-575-3738

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: How do I know if my samples were collected at a time and place where wild poliovirus or vaccine-derived poliovirus was in circulation or oral polio vaccine was in use?

A: To determine whether you possess materials that could contain poliovirus, please see the CDC website for definitions and examples.  Additional guidance from the World Health Organization can be found on the Polio Global Eradication Initiative website, along with an online PIM identification tool.  If you need further assistance, please contact OBS at biosafety@fpm.wisc.edu.

Q: What do I do if I think I may have PIM in my laboratory?

A: Please contact OBS at biosafety@fpm.wisc.edu. OBS will gather information from you about the materials in your laboratory and report changes in the UW-Madison poliovirus inventory to the NAC.

Q: Am I allowed to keep PIM in my laboratory?

A: Yes.  The NAC strongly encourages laboratories to destroy any non-essential PIM.  However, if you have potentially infectious materials that are important for your research you may keep them providing they have been reported to OBS and safe practices for handling are followed.

Q: My research has nothing to do with poliovirus and I do not culture poliovirus in my laboratory. Why do I need to worry about PIM?

A: You do not have to study poliovirus to have poliovirus PIM in your laboratory.  Laboratories that handle potentially infectious materials pose a risk for polioviruses to be reintroduced into the community after eradication.  All UW-Madison PIs must report the discovery, acquisition, disposal, or transfer of PIM to OBS so we can fulfill our institutional reporting obligations to the NAC.