SIX new polio cases have been reported in the Philippines, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), bringing the total to 14 since its re-emergence in the country last year.
“Currently 11 human cases confirmed with cVDPV2; one case with cVDPV1; one case with VDPV1; and one case with immunodeficiency-related VDPV type 2 (iVDPV2),” the WHO/Unicef Situation Report 13 of the Polio Outbreak in the Philippines as of Jan. 15 said.
The new cases involve a two-year-old boy, less than a-year-old boy, less than 6-month-old boy, two-year-old boy, and a three-year-old boy, all from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and a four-year-old girl from Soccsksargen.
The report said confirmed Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (cVDDPV) cases reported from the Sabah State of Malaysia were confirmed to be “genetically linked” to the Basilan case.
It is unclear yet whether the three cases from Sabah, where the Philippines has a long standing claim, are among the six additional cases in the country or not.
Last year, the Department of Health confirmed a total of eight polio cases in the Philippines, seven coming from Mindanao and one from Laguna.
The Philippines had been declared polio-free since October 2000.
“Current polio outbreak resulting from persistently low routine immunization coverage, and poor sanitation and hygiene,” the WHO/Unicef report said.
Last week, the DOH announced the extension of the synchronized oral polio vaccine (OPV) campaign in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Mindanao until April.
For Metro Manila, there will be two additional rounds scheduled on January 27 to February 7; and March 9 to March 20.
Last year, the DOH conducted three rounds of polio vaccination in Manila and two rounds in NCR.