Four new cases of polio were confirmed by the Department of Health on Thursday, including one in Quezon City—the first such case of the disease in the National Capital Region in two decades―as the total number of polio cases nationwide reached 16 since the new outbreak was declared in September 2019.
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Mayor Joy Belmonte said a three-year-old child from Sitio Kaliwa, Barangay Batasan Hills in Quezon City tested positive for polio.
Belmonte instructed city health officer Dr. Esperanza Arias to intensify their surveillance of the disease in the area, and “to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that it remains an isolated case.”
“The local government will also extend assistance to address the medical need of the child,” she said.
The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine reported two additional polio cases from Maguindanao, both males, ages two and three; one from Sultan Kudarat, a two-year-old male; and the boy in Quezon City.
They all manifested fever, diarrhea, muscle pain, asymmetric ascending paralysis and weakness of extremities, the institute said in a statement.
Still, DOH extended its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign to ensure that no child is left unvaccinated and to boost protection for those already vaccinated against the disease.
The succeeding rounds are scheduled on Jan. 20 to Feb. 2 in all regions of Mindanao, and on Jan. 27 to Feb. 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’,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Additional polio doses “can provide additional protection to your children. There is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine,” Duque said.
The DOH and local government units aim to accomplish 95-percent coverage in all identified areas for every SPKP round, he said.
The secretary also urged all health facilities to strengthen their Acute Flaccid Paralysis 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.
Duque said the outbreak must be halted, and “we can only do this if all our health facilities are achieving the targets for all AFP surveillance indicators, and in every SPKP round, all of the target population are reached and vaccinated.
The DOH, its partners, and LGUs will continue to work hand-in-hand “to ensure that no child is left behind in our fight against polio,” he said.
The Quezon City government would conduct a massive information campaign to encourage residents to practice proper hygiene and handwashing, and hold another round of vaccinations against polio as soon as the needed supply from the DOH arrives.
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