Polio virus containment in the Netherlands

In 2016 the Inspectorate made an inventory of locations at which polio virus material might be present because it is still being handled or stored.
The inventory revealed that there were approximately 20 facilities which were keeping poliovirus types 1, 2 or 3 material. In 2018 a letter was again written to these facilities to ask them if they wanted to destroy the material. The idea was to comply with the WHO's wish to reduce the number of facilities. Approximately half of the facilities complied with this request and destroyed the poliovirus material.

Ten facilities wanted to apply for the certificate and be designated PEFs. They are able to keep the poliovirus material for restricted use. The facilities in question include research laboratories, institutes or businesses, such as animal facilities, that work with the poliovirus.

Other types of poliovirus

The WHO has created a programme to eradicate the other 2 types of poliovirus (type 1 and type 3). However, containment only applies to virus types which no longer occur in the population. For that reason the NAC is currently only focusing on certifying facilities which want to keep type 2 polio virus material.

Poliovirus-essential facility

In 2018 the Minister designated the Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate (IGJ) as the National Authority for Containment (NAC). The NAC ensures that all the polio virus material that is still present in the Netherlands is managed and used in accordance with the correct conditions. Any facility that can continue working with poliovirus material in the Netherlands is referred to as a Poliovirus-essential Facility (PEF).


These PEFs need a certificate in order to be allowed to store poliovirus material. The NAC certifies these facilities and cooperates closely with the WHO when doing so. At the request of the WHO the NAC is committed to reduce the number of facilities even further. We are doing this in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), for example by amending legislation on working with poliovirus and by making it obligatory to obtain a licence for such work.

Annual audit

Facilities that have material containing type 2 polio virus will be audited by the NAC every year after the certificate has been issued. The intensity of the audit depends on the risk and the complexity of the work carried out by the facility. The number of obligatory audits is laid down in the WHO's Containment Certification Scheme (CCS). The requirements which a PEF has to fulfil are prescribed by the WHO in the annexes to the GAPIII document. The main elements of these requirements will be included in Dutch legislation.