Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Philippines confirms 2nd polio case after declaring outbreak

Published:Friday | September 20, 2019 | 12:50 PM
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (second from left) administers anti-polio vaccine to a child during the launch of a campaign to end the resurgence of polio Friday, September 20, 2019, at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine health officials on Friday confirmed a second case of polio in a 5-year-old child a day after declaring the country’s first outbreak in nearly two decades and announced plans for a massive immunisation programme.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said authorities confirmed the new case in a boy from Laguna province south of Manila after samples were found positive for the polio virus.

Health officials declared a new outbreak Thursday after confirming the disease in a 3-year-old girl in southern Lanao del Sur province.

They said the polio virus has also been detected in sewage in Manila and in waterways in the southern Davao region, prompting plans for an immunisation drive starting next month that is likely to include tens of thousands of children under age 5.

At least 95% of children that age need to be vaccinated to halt the spread of polio in the Philippines, according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, which expressed deep concern over the disease’s reemergence in the country and pledged to support the government in immunising children and strengthening surveillance.

The boy afflicted with polio in Laguna experienced the onset of paralysis late last month but has been discharged from a hospital, is able to walk and is being closely monitored for residual symptoms, health officials said.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which mainly afflicts young children.

There is no known cure and polio can only be prevented by immunisation, according to WHO.

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