DOH confirms 3rd case of polio in PH

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    ANOTHER case of polio, this time involving a four-year-old girl from Datu Piang in Maguindanao, has been confirmed by the Department of Health, the third such case since the deadly virus was eradicated in the country in 2000.

    DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday said a patient at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center tested positive for the deadly virus last Oct. 24.

    “On October 24, stool samples sent to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases — Japan tested positive for vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (VDPV2),” Duque said.

    He added the girl was initially diagnosed as a case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) after manifesting signs and symptoms, such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle pain, last September. He said the patient did not receive any dose of the oral polio vaccine (OPV).

    Samples from another suspected case have been sent for testing, awaiting results and confirmation, Duque said.

    He said the DOH is set to conduct a vaccination campaign in Datu Piang, Maguindanao from November 4 to 8 targeting 4,254 children aged 0 to 59 months.

    “I enjoin all parents and guardians to ensure that all of your children are protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said.

    Duque assured that stocks of OPV are sufficient and that preparations for the immunization campaign are underway.

    Last month, the DOH reported two confirmed cases of polio in the country, a 3-year-old girl from Lanao Del Sur and a 5-year-old boy from Laguna.

    This prompted the health department to declare a polio epidemic, explaining that even just one case can be considered as an outbreak in a polio-free country like the Philippines.

    Polio is a disease caused by the polio virus, transmitted through the fecal-oral route, and may result in life-long paralysis and even death.

    The DOH kicked off a vaccination campaign in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, and Davao City last monthy. The campaign will be expanded to the whole of Mindanao on November 25, 2019 and will be concluded with the last round of vaccination on January 6, 2020.

    The National Capital Region began its second round of vaccination last Oct. 14, with the last round scheduled on Nov. 25, 2019.

    The DOH already conducted the first round of immunization for Manila back in August.