DOH confirms 8th polio case

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl from Basilan became the eighth confirmed case of polio in the country, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday, November 25, said the tests conducted on samples sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan were positive for poliovirus.

"(It) came out positive for poliovirus. This brings the total number of confirmed polio cases this year to eight," Duque said in a statement.

He said the patient was found to have not been immunized against poliovirus.

In an interview, Duque said the patient had manifestations of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) until it was confirmed to be polio.

Last September, the DOH confirmed that a three-year-old girl from Lanao Del Sur and a five-year-old boy from Laguna contracted polio.

Earlier this month, the Health department also reported that a four-year-old girl from Maguindanao and a three-year-old girl from Sultan Kudarat became the third and fourth confirmed cases of polio.

Last week, the number of polio cases rose to seven after a two-year-old girl from Maguindanao, one-year-old boy from Cotabato City, and a four-year-old girl from North Cotabato all tested positive for polio.

With the rise in polio cases, Duque called on the public to take advantage of the synchronized Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) campaign in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the whole of Mindanao from November 25 to December 7.

The Health chief said all children under five years old, regardless of immunization status, are eligible to receive a dose of the oral polio vaccine during the campaign.

“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.

"No investment is needed except to walk or pay the small fare in order to give your children complete immunization versus polio," he added.

He said health workers and vaccination teams are set to go house-to-house to ensure that all children under five years of age are vaccinated.

Similarly, health centers, government hospitals, fixed vaccination posts in barangays, malls, terminals, and fast food chains, among others, will also be providing vaccination, said Duque.

The DOH said it targets to immunize 1.276 million children in the NCR and another 5.2 million in Mindanao. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)