On Monday, October 28, 2019, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the third case of poliovirus in the Philippines.
The virus was detected in a 4-year-old girl from Datu Piang, Maguindanao. The child’s stool samples were sent to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, and it tested positive for polio.
According to the DOH, the patient was previously diagnosed with acute flaccid paralysis by the Cotabato Regional Medical Center after showing symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle pain.
The DOH also said the girl had not received the recommended dose of the oral polio vaccine before.
The poliovirus isolated from the tested samples were found to be genetically linked to the virus detected in the 3-year-old girl from Morogong, Lanao del Sur, which was the case that prompted the DOH to declare a polio outbreak in September 2019, Rappler reports.
Aside from these two cases, a 5-year-old boy from Calamba, Laguna had also been diagnosed with polio. DOH has yet to confirm whether the boy was immunized or not previously, but he was found to have a weak immune system, which could have made him vulnerable to the disease.
GMA News reports that samples from another suspected polio case are currently being tested in the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
After the confirmation of this third polio case, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III announced that the department will conduct a polio vaccination campaign in Datu Piang, Maguindanao.
Scheduled for November 4 to 8, 2019, the campaign will target 4,254 children between the ages of zero and 59 months.
The DOH will also meet with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to discuss how to address the polio outbreak.
On Sunday, October 27, 2019, the DOH concluded its first round of catch-up polio vaccinations in Metro Manila, Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao City, and Davao del Sur.
More polio vaccination campaigns will be held in Mindanao from November 25 to December 7, 2019, according to Rappler. These campaigns involve door-to-door vaccination and aim to ensure that barangay health units and municipal health centers have sufficient stocks of the polio vaccine.
“I enjoin all parents and guardians, to ensure that all of your children are protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases,” Duque said.
Health experts say that the polio vaccine is the best protection kids can have against poliovirus. Click here to learn more.