Polio is Back in Philippines After 19 Years

19 years after the WHO declared the country as polio-free, polio is slowly making a comeback in the Philippines.

On Thursday, 19 September, the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the re-emergence of polio as a single case of a 3-year-old girl has come to light, reported ABS-CBN News.

"“A single confirmed polio case of vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 or two positive environmental samples that are genetically linked isolated in two different locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country.” " - Philippines Department of Health

Besides this, the virus has also been detected in sewage water samples in Manila and Davao.

Also Read: Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Program a Failure Says WHO 

‘No Cure for Polio So Vaccinate Your Children’ Says DOH

Polio is a highly contagious disease caused when the poliovirus invades the nervous system.

The DOH warned that since “there is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective." Therefore, they emplored parents to vaccinate their children, especially young ones below the age of five.

The country faced a drop in the oral polio vaccine coverage in 2018 and according to ABS-CBN News, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had previously warned that Philippians was at a “high risk” for poliovirus transmission.

"“In 2018, the vaccine coverage for the third dose of OPV was 66 percent. This figure is below the 95 percent target required to ensure that the whole population is protected against polio,” he said." - Philippines Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

According to reports, this decrease was due to an anti-vaccine scare linked to an anti-dengue virus.

(With inputs from ABS-CBN News.)

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