DOH records first case of polio 19 years after PH was declared polio-free

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  • The Department of Health confirmed that polio is now a re-emerging disease in the Philippines
  • 3-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur is the first polio case in 19 years
  • In 2000, Philippines was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization 

Polio is now a re-emerging disease in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed after recording one case in Mindanao; less than two decades after the Philippines was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Image via DOH’s official Facebook page

Polio is an infecti0us disease that spreads rapidly and causes paralysis. There is no cure for this and it can only be prevented with multiple d0ses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

According to the DOH, a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur is the first polio case in 19 years.  In addition, the poliovirus has been detected in samples taken from sewage in Manila and waterways in Davao as part of the regular environmental surveillance. The samples were tested by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and verified by the Japan National Institute for Infecti0us Diseases and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the country is already free from it since 2000, a single confirmed case of vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 (VDPV2) or two positive environmental samples that are genetically linked isolated in two different locations is already considered an epidemic.

At present, the DOH is in close coordination with local government units and concerned national agencies; and supported by the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other partners. It is preparing a rapid response to the outbreak; including series of synchronized oral vaccinations beginning in October 2019.

Image via DOH’s official Facebook page

“We str0ngly urge parents, health workers, and local governments to fully participate in the synchronized polio vaccination,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, “It is the only way to stop the polio outbreak and to protect your child.”

He also remind the public “to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, use t0ilets, drink safe water, and cook food thoroughly.”

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