DOH-7: Central Visayas remains polio-free but 3 suspected cases are subject to confirmation
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) clarified that the region remained polio-free even as three suspected cases have been submitted for confirmation to the Health department’s central office in Manila.
The declaration of a polio outbreak in the country was made by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday, after a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur was diagnosed of vaccine-derived polio virus type 2.
The onset of the recorded illness started on June 26. The case was confirmed by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases on Sept. 14.
The Health department has also detected polio virus in samples taken from sewage in Metro Manila and Davao City.
The discovery of a new polio case in the country happened barely 20 years since 2000, the year when the Philippines was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a polio-free country.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of DOH-7, told CDN Digital on Friday, September 20, that the agency has not recorded any new cases of polio in Central Visayas as of this date.
But he admitted that they have submitted three suspected cases of polio for confirmation in their head office in Manila.
“We are still waiting for the result after they’ve manifested symptoms of the disease,” Bernadas said.
He explained that polio is an infectious disease that can be fatal to children five years old and below and which cripples a stricken person.
The disease can spread through oral-fecal route contamination of the virus. Currently, polio has no cure but it can be prevented through vaccination.
“That is why I’m appealing to parents to have their children vaccinated not just for polio, but for other diseases as well that can be prevented through immunization,” he added.
Bernadas also admitted their polio-vaccination coverage has been decreasing since the country was declared as polio-free. He revealed that at present, their polio-immunization coverage is only at 70 percent. /elb
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