MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a new case of polio on Saturday, February 15. This brings the total number of polio cases in the country to 17 since the outbreak was declared in September 2019.
The 17th patient is a one-year-old boy from Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, who reportedly manifested fever and sudden onset weakness of the left lower limb. The case was detected through surveillance of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases in the communities done and reported by barangay health workers, DOH said.
Meanwhile, in Cebu, environmental samples collected from Butuanon River in Mandaue City also tested positive for the poliovirus, as confirmed by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine.
“In response to this development, DOH is closely coordinating with the World Health Organization for an appropriate vaccination response. DOH is assisting the cities of Cabanatuan and Mandaue in strengthening their AFP surveillance capacities, including their identification and reporting mechanisms,” DOH said in a statement.
Poliomyelitis or polio is a highly contagious disease caused by poliovirus entering the nervous system. The poliovirus, which usually enters through the feces of an infected person, can live in feces for many weeks and can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions. (READ: EXPLAINER: What is polio?)
“It is important that we are able to timely detect any acute onset of paralysis in children – especially within our communities. We have evidence that the poliovirus continues to spread. Our aim is to promptly diagnose and treat all possible polio cases,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.
The DOH also continues to implement the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign in the National Capital Region and all regions of Mindanao. (READ: DOH extends anti-polio vaccination campaign) – Rappler.com