By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Philippines Department of Health reported today the confirmation of  four more polio cases in the country, bringing the total number of polio cases to 16 since the outbreak was declared in September 2019.

Image/Philippines DOH

The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) reported two additional polio cases from Maguindanao, both males, ages two- and three-years old; one polio case from Sultan Kudarat, a two-year old male; and one polio case from Quezon City, a three-year old male. They manifested with fever, diarrhea, muscle pain, asymmetric ascending paralysis and weakness of extremities.

DOH extended its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign to ensure that no child is left unvaccinated and to boost protection for those already vaccinated. The succeeding rounds are scheduled on January 20 – February 2 in all regions of Mindanao, and on January 27 – February 7 in the National Capital Region.

“I urge all parents and caregivers of children under five years old to take part in the coming SPKP campaign rounds scheduled in your respective areas. Have your children, including those with private physicians or pediatricians, vaccinated with oral polio vaccine by health workers and bakunators. Additional polio doses can provide additional protection to your children. There is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine,” the Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

DOH and the Local Government Units aim to accomplish 95% coverage in all identified areas for every SPKP round.

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DOH also urges all health facilities to strengthen their Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance. All health facilities must promptly report every case of AFP in any child under 15 years of age and gather sufficient stool specimen samples.

“The outbreak must be put to a halt, and we can only do this if all our health facilities are achieving the targets for all AFP surveillance indicators, and if every SPKP round, ALL of the target population are reached and vaccinated. The DOH, its partners, and the LGUs will continue to work hand-in-hand to ensure that no child is left behind in our fight against polio,” the Health Secretary concluded.