Intensifies vaccination campaign
Polio virus detected in waterways in Davao
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday his department would intensify its vaccination campaign against polio after confirming the re-emergence of the disease in the country.
“Polio is re-emerging in the country, 19 years after the Philippines has been declared polio-free by the World Health Organization in 2000. Polio is an infectious disease, which spreads rapidly, causing paralysis and on rare occasions can be fatal,” Duque said.
He reported one confirmed case of polio, a three-year-old from Lanao del Sur, and a suspected case of acute flaccid paralysis, which is awaiting confirmation.
He added that the polio virus 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 were verified by the Japan National Institute for Infectious Diseases and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A single confirmed polio case of a vaccine-derived polio virus type or two positive environmental samples that are genetically linked and isolated in two different locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country,” Duque said.
In response, he said, the Department of Health (DOH) is in close coordination with the local government units, national agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in implementing a series of synchronized oral polio vaccinations to protect every child under five years old.