Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance

Data Collection Type
National data collections of health and social care in Ireland

HSE, Health Protection Surveillance Centre

Year established


Statement of purpose

To provide information on children aged less than 15 years of age presenting to Irish hospitals with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). This information is used to ensure that all AFP cases in children are adequately investigated and to rule out polio as a cause of the paralysis — this is in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that all countries should heighten surveillance to ensure that no polio cases are undetected.


Children aged less than 15 years of age from all regions of the country.


HPSC communicates regularly with each paediatric hospital/unit to request and remind clinicians on the need to report all AFP cases in children aged less than 15 years of age. The completed forms are sent to HPSC. Anonymised copies are then subsequently forwarded to the NVRL.

HPSC collates the data each year and reports to the National Polio Elimination Committee. A report is also provided on the HPSC website and in the Epi-Insight monthly newsletter issued by the HPSC.

Data content

Case-based data (anonymised) with clinical details of onset of paralysis, part of body affected, laboratory and radiological tests undertaken and results, polio vaccination history and outcome.

Data providers

Paediatric neurologists from hospitals around the country.

Data collection methodology

The data is collected on a form and faxed to HPSC where it is entered into an Access database. 

Data dictionary

Not available

Clinical coding scheme

Not in use

Size of national collection

Approximately between six and eight records created on average annually.

Publication frequency

Annual summary figures are published on the HPSC website

Accessing data

Data requests can be submitted via and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Open data portal access


Email contact
Telephone contact
Other comments

AFP data in children aged less than 15 years of age is voluntary. It is estimated that there should be about 10–11 cases of AFP occurring in children aged less than 15 years of age each year. Under-reporting is likely in view of the normal reporting rate of between six and eight cases per year.