DOH: Ph still polio-free but at high risk due to low vaccination and poor sanitation

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The Philippines may lose its status of a polio-free country. This is the grim statement by Philippine Health secretary Francisco Duque after assessing the rate of polio infections and the number of Filipinos who fell victim to this debilitating disease this year. 

“In fact not only do we lose it but we will have an epidemic because based on the WHO (World Health Organization) declaration of epidemic protocol in a polio free country even one case of a polio that has been confirmed by our own RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) but also confirmed by the national reference laboratory in Japan which is the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.”, Duque said.

Duque says the Philippines may be at risk of polio virus transmission if the polio vaccine coverage will not be immediately raised to 95-percent.

Dr. Maria Rosario Vergara warns the Philippines is at high risk of polio-virus transmission due to very low vaccine coverage and poor sanitary conditions and practices. Last July, the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicines) discovered a vaccine derived polio virus in different sewage and Manila raising concerns about the re-emergence of polio in the country the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Philippines polio free in October 2000 meanwhile the Philippine Health Department has not recorded any case of wild poliovirus in 26 years since 1993. The children is the most vulnerable but it can affect up to 50 children, 15 years and below, but the children five years younger and younger are the most vulnerable.

Last September 19, Department of Health (DOH) declared a polio outbreak in Lanao del Sur. This is the first confirmed case in the country after 19 years of being polio-free. DOH said they found the decease in a 3-year-old girl who’s now apparently well but with residual paralysis. The DOH is waiting for another case to be confirmed and they will make an announcement once it is confirmed. According to DOH the Philippines was at high risk of poliovirus transmission after Manila’s sewage showed two samples that tested positive for poliovirus. Now the DOH wants to extend their campaign on giving children polio vaccine to prevent this disease. (with reports from Cate Palarco, CNS)

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