On Wednesday, November 27, 2019, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that poliovirus was detected in samples collected from Metro Manila and Davao City.
142 samples were collected by the department from July 1 to November 26 in the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Central Visayas, Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Mindanao.
The samples were taken from bodies of water and sewage plants that tested positive for polio, ABS-CBN News reports.
The samples were then sent to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan for testing.
The institute confirmed the presence of poliovirus types 1 and 2 in 26 of the samples tested. 25 came from the National Capital Region and one came from Davao City.
According to the DOH, this means that individuals infected with polio have been shedding the virus to various communities.
“The presence of poliovirus in environmental samples implies that carriers of the virus are continuously shedding in the communities,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, as Rapplerreports. “If viruses continue to spread from person to person in areas with low immunization coverage, the poliovirus evolves and regains the ability to cause paralysis.”
Duque urged parents to have their children ages 5 years and below vaccinated against polio. According toABS-CBN News, the DOH launched its third round of mass vaccination drive in Metro Manila on Monday, November 25, and is currently holding its second round of vaccination in all of Mindanao until December 7.
To date, there are eight confirmed cases of polio in the country. The cases involve young children who are unvaccinated or did not get enough doses of the vaccine.
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