AT least two more possible cases of the dreaded polio virus are being monitored by the Department of Health in Mindanao, raising fears the number of cases may surpass the seven already confirmed in just three months.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday said they are awaiting the results of “one or two” more suspected polio patients, a day after three more kids tested positive for the virus supposedly eradicated in the country in 1999.
“There are more, probably one or two. You don’t think that it is going to be the end now, because of our continuing surveillance,” Duque said.
DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said there are still other cases awaiting confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
“There are still cases that are being monitored, that will be tested… As far as I know, we still have some more,” Domingo said, adding the patients being monitored come from Mindanao. He didn’t provide additional details.
Last Wednesday, the number of polio case rose to seven after three more patients from Mindanao were confirmed to have been afflicted with the virus. They are a 2-year-old girl from Maguindanao, 1-year-old boy from Cotabato City, and a 4-year-old girl from North Cotabato.
Last September, 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.
Earlier this month, the health department also reported that a 4-year-old girl from Maguindanao and a 3-year-old girl from Sultan Kudarat were the third and fourth confirmed cases of polio.
Domingo reiterated the importance of the forthcoming second round of synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign in the entire southern Philippines.
“It is a cause of concern. As we can now see, there’s an active transmission (of the virus) within the island of Mindanao,” he said
“And there are children there that are unprotected. That’s why we want to concentrate the next two rounds of vaccination in the whole of Mindanao.”
The DOH is set to begin its second round of oral polio vaccine campaign for the whole of Mindanao and the final round for the National Capital Region from November 25 until December 7.
Selected McDonald’s stores in Metro Manila and in Mindanao will also host “Patak Polio Corners” during the synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign, having forged a partnership with the DOH yesterday.