In light of new polio cases being reported in the Middle East and Africa, the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) is urging Filipinos going abroad to get vaccinated against the crippling virus. According to a Philippines News Agency report Friday,  Health spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee-Suy said that the DOH will soon be stricter in making vaccination a requirement after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared polio as a public health emergency.

Poliovirus  Image/CDC
Poliovirus Image/CDC

“The Philippines is polio free but because of the threat outside the country, we might get affected,” Dr. Lee-Suy said. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

In 2014 to date, there has been 77 polio cases reported from eight countries.

Another infectious disease threat that has found its way to the archipelago is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The virus continues to be a threat to the Philippines according to officials.

Dr. Lyndon Lee-Suy in an interview on Friday said that as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) continue to be returning from the Arabian Peninsula, the threat would always be there. “We should continue to monitor this disease,” Dr. Lee-Suy said. “We want to maintain the country’s MERS-CoV free status.”