In a follow-up on a report on a polio case in the Philippines, the Department of Health reported Friday on a second case in a 5-year-old boy from Laguna. This comes one day after health officials declared a polio outbreak in the country.
According to a local media account, the boy is described as “immunocompromised,” meaning he has multiple pediatric complications due to a weak immune system. According to DOH, the boy experienced the onset of paralysis on August 25. He has since been discharged from the hospital and is able to walk, but is still being closely monitored for other residual symptoms.
It is unclear if he was vaccinated.
In related news today, the Department of Health signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rotary International’s 10 Districts to heighten polio awareness and vaccination campaign in light of the reemergence of poliomyelitis in the country.
Polio eradication is one of Rotary’s longest standing and most significant efforts. The Rotary Districts will provide support through fundraising, advocacy and volunteer recruitment, as DOH intensifies its health promotion activities focusing on sanitation and hygiene, and prepares for a rapid response polio vaccination campaign.
In 2018, 12 out of the 17 regions in the country were identified as high-risk areas for polio reemergence. The National Capital Region is one of the identified regions with a high-risk of re-infection due to a number of factors including low polio vaccination coverage coupled with poor surveillance of polio symptoms, ongoing practice of open defecation, and poor sanitary practices in communities. OPV coverage at the National Capital Region has been steadily decreasing from 77.25% in 2016 to 23.45% in the second quarter of 2019.
To mitigate the risk, DOH – Metro Manila Center for Health Development will conduct three (3) rounds of supplemental Oral Polio Immunization to ensure protection against polio among children under 5 years old.
DOH will also strengthen surveillance of children below five years old who developed sudden onset of muscle weakness or paralysis of the upper and lower extremities, intensify implementation of the Zero Open Defecation Program, and strengthen environmental sanitation and personal hygiene.
“It is unthinkable that a child will suffer from a disease that is highly preventable by vaccination. Together let us all work to protect our children and ensure their future,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III concluded.
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