CDPH Concludes Poliovirus Wastewater Monitoring

July 25, 2023

All samples negative for poliovirus, no public health action needed

CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has concluded poliovirus wastewater monitoring, with all samples negative for poliovirus and no triggers for a public health action.

In response to the identification of a case of paralytic poliomyelitis and wastewater surveillance in sewersheds in New York State last year, and in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDPH launched a 4-month wastewater monitoring project for poliovirus. CDPH leveraged its established wastewater monitoring infrastructure to quickly adapt to bi-weekly polio testing efforts at treatment plats around the City of Chicago and surrounding Cook County area in March of 2023. As all tests have returned negative results, this focused surveillance effort will end as initially planned.

"CDPH’s ability to implement polio wastewater monitoring, in collaboration with its partners, is a testament to the overall wastewater monitoring program developed through our COVID work. Continued investments in this type of public health monitoring allows us to quickly react to emerging needs and public health concerns,” said Massimo Pacilli, Deputy Commissioner for CDPH's Disease Control Bureau.

CDPH thanks and acknowledges all its partners and collaborators in this project: University of Illinois Chicago, the Regional Innovative Public Health Laboratory at Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois System’s Discovery Partner Institute, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and the CDC.

While wastewater testing is one helpful tool for surveillance, improving vaccination coverage in communities that are at highest risk is the most effective way to ensure that the United States remains protected from polio. The complete recommended polio vaccination series is extremely effective in preventing paralytic polio, and the vaccine protects against severe disease in almost everyone who has received the recommended doses. Illinois’ Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers vaccines at no cost to eligible children through health care providers enrolled in the program, including uninsured, underinsured and Medicaid eligible children. You can find a vaccine provider by visiting CDPH operates three immunization clinics where children and young adults 18 years of age and under can get required and recommended vaccinations at no cost. Get more information online from CDPH about the clinics, including locations and hours:

Additionally, adults and children traveling to countries where poliovirus is circulating may need to get updated polio vaccinations before travel. Primary care providers, travel clinics, and pharmacies can provide pre-travel vaccinations to adults.

CDPH will continue to routinely test wastewater samples across Chicago to monitor for SARS-CoV-2 and provide updates to the public on the CDPH website: