Skip to Content

Environmental Health and Safety

Policies and Other Resources

University Resources

National Safety Resources


USC's Participation in the Global Poliovirus Eradication Initiative

As the world grows closer to global eradication of poliovirus, efforts are being made to minimize the risk of the escape of poliovirus infectious or potentially infectious materials (PIM) from research facilities. To accomplish the goal of global eradication, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Global Action Plan (GAPIII) that describes the safe handling requirements and community safeguards for facilities that intend to retain poliovirus containing materials or PIM.

To ensure compliance with the requirements established in the GAPIII (recently revised to GAPIV), the U.S. Poliovirus National Authority for Containment of Poliovirus (NAC), located in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked all institutions that may have poliovirus potentially infectious materials to complete the U.S. National Inventory for Poliovirus Containment survey. The survey was designed to collect relevant laboratory inventory data for GAPIV compliance and to help laboratories determine if they had materials that were potentially infectious for poliovirus. To support the global initiative to eradicate poliovirus, the U.S. NAC continues to maintain the U.S. National Inventory for Poliovirus Containment. The University of South Carolina will support this effort by reporting any changes in our inventory to the U.S. NAC.

Poliovirus is the causative agent of polio which is an infectious disease caused by one of three serotypes of poliovirus or vaccine-derived poliovirus. The virus is transmitted from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis. Poliovirus is very contagious and primarily lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines.

Poliovirus materials include not only any poliovirus cultures and stocks, but also poliovirus potentially infectious materials (PIM). Examples of poliovirus potentially infectious materials include (but are not limited to):

  • human samples (primarily respiratory or fecal specimens)
  • sewage samples
  • environmental water samples

that were collected in a time and place where wild poliovirus was circulating or where oral polio vaccine was in use.

Any USC investigator who discovers or acquires poliovirus containing materials or potentially infectious materials must immediately contact Sherika Smith, USC’s Biosafety Officer (BSO) at or (803) 777-1625. This information will be reported to the U.S. NAC as part of our commitment to comply with NAC’s efforts to complete and maintain a national inventory of poliovirus-containing materials and PIM.

All USC Principal Investigators using biological materials should complete the Poliovirus Containment Acknowledgement form [pdf] and email it to the BSO at

For more complete guidance on what types of samples are considered potentially infectious materials as well as the upcoming requirements and conditions for poliovirus research, please refer to the CDC National Authority for the Containment of Poliovirus and WHO GAPIV.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.