How long can Polioviruses survive?

Polioviruses in clinical or environmental samples can survive indefinitely in a laboratory freezer (below -20 °C), for many months in a normal fridge (~4 °C) and for several weeks on a bench top at ambient temperatures (~18 °C).

How do you inactivate Poliovirus?

Polioviruses can be inactivated (so they are no longer infectious) by heat (>50 °C), dehydration or treatment with dilute solutions of formaldehyde or bleach at appropriate concentrations.

Heat sterilisation (autoclaving) is the preferred method to inactivate polioviruses and  the method endorsed by the World Health Organisations (WHO), Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Need further information?

Further guidance on appropriate destruction/inactivation of Polioviruses and PIMs can be found through the GPEI guidance material ( or the Safety in Laboratories standards AS/NZS 2243.3:2010 – Part 3: Microbiological safety and containment. The standards detail safety and containment practices including appropriate handling of contaminated materials and waste. Additionally, the standards provide a specific appendix addressing Poliovirus – Appendix C: Additional Containment Requirement for Poliovirus. Please note that Safety in Laboratories standards AS/NZS 2243.3:2010 standards are currently under review.

Any queries relating to this information can be directed to: .