Polio cases in the Philippines rise to 16 from last year

  • Philippines
  • Friday, 17 Jan 2020

MANILA: The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) said that four more polio cases have been detected, bringing the total number of cases to 16 since an outbreak was declared in September 2019.

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque said yesterday that two boys, aged two and three, from Maguindanao province, and a two-year-old boy from Sultan Kudarat in the southern Philippines contracted the virus.

Another three-year-old boy from Quezon City in the country’s capital was also found positive of the virus, he said.

Duque said all the four boys “manifested with fever, diarrhoea, muscle pain, asymmetric ascending paralysis and weakness of extremities”.

The number of polio cases continues to rise despite the government’s aggressive campaign to administer oral polio vaccines in Metro Manila and the southern Mindanao region.

“The outbreak must be put to a halt, and we can only do this if all our health facilities are achieving the targets for all AFP (acute flaccid paralysis) surveillance indicators, and if (synchronised anti-polio vaccination) have reached the target population and vaccinated, ” Duque said.

Duque called parents and caregivers to have their children under five years old vaccinated during synchronised polio vaccination rounds.

“Additional polio doses can provide additional protection to your children, ” he said, adding that “there is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine”.

The Philippines aims to accomplish 95% vaccination coverage in all areas that are at risk, including remote island provinces in the southern Philippines.

In September 2019, the Philippines declared a polio outbreak after the infectious disease reappeared 19 years after the country was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization in 2000. — Xinhua

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