Girl, 9, eighth confirmed victim of dreaded polio virus

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    A 9-year-old girl from Basilan who has not received any polio vaccine has been confirmed as the country’s eighth victim of the dreaded virus, according to the Department of Health.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque III issued the confirmation yesterday after samples taken from the girl and sent to the research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Japan came out positive for the polio virus.

    “This brings the total number of confirmed polio cases this year to eight,” Duque said, adding the DOH is coordinating with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao to provide additional assistance, including how to maximize the vaccination coverage in the region.

    Duque also assured the public that stocks of oral polio vaccine “are sufficient” and that preparations are underway for the outbreak response immunization.

    Yesterday, the second round of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio in the National Capital Region and Mindanao got going. All children under five years old are the target of the polio vaccine campaign that will last until December 7.

    “I urge all parents and caregivers of children under five years old to take part in the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign and have their children vaccinated by our health workers,” Duque said.

    A complete set of polio vaccine includes three doses of Oral Polio Vaccine and one injected dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine, according to the World Health Organization.

    Last week, the DOH confirmed three new cases of polio, all from Mindanao (North Cotabato), raising to seven the number of polio cases in the country whre polio was supposed to be eradicated in 1999. – With Cyra Corral