Health department declares polio outbreak after 18 years
The Department of Health (DOH) Thursday declared a polio outbreak in the country after a three-year old girl from Lanao del Sur was found positive of the virus while another suspected case is awaiting confirmation.
In a press conference, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III added that the polio virus has been detected in samples from a sewage in Manila and waterways in Davao.
"A single confirmed polio case of vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 (VDPV2) or two positive environmental samples that are genetically linked isolated in two different locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country," said Duque.
This is the first since 2001, when three cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) were found in Cavite, Laguna, and Misamis Oriental.
The country has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as polio-free as a public health threat since 2000.
According to DOH Epidemiology Bureau chief Ferchito Avelino, the girl was tested for possible polio virus last June 26 but only got the results last September 14.
"The girl is now well at home but has residual paralysis," Avelino said.
The health department said it is preparing synchronized oral polio vaccinations to protect every child under five years of age starting October.
First in the list are the National Capital Region, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur. DMS