That same day, the DOH had confirmed the 17th case of polio in the country: a one-year-old boy from Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija.
Michael Varcas/File
Poliovirus detected in Cebu river – DOH
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has confirmed that environmental samples from Butuanon River in Mandaue City, Cebu have tested positive for poliovirus, the Department of Health (DOH) reported in a statement released last Saturday.

That same day, the DOH had confirmed the 17th case of polio in the country: a one-year-old boy from Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija.

“The #polio outbreak in the Philippines is not over,” the World Health Organization (WHO) – Philippines said after the news broke.

“We continue to remind parents and caregivers to bring their children to health centers for their polio drops and shot as part of the routine immunization program,” the WHO added.

“We have evidence that the poliovirus continues to spread. Our aim is to promptly diagnose and treat all possible polio cases,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“It is important that we are able to timely detect any acute onset of paralysis in children, especially within our communities,” Duque added.

There is no known cure for the highly infectious virus, which can cause paralysis and even death in extreme cases.

Health officials said they are closely coordinating with the WHO for an appropriate vaccination response as well as working with the Cabanatuan and Mandaue local government units to bolster their surveillance capacities and identification and reporting mechanisms.

Meanwhile, the DOH is set to resume today the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign in Mindanao.

Children under 10 years old residing in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Isabela City, Zamboanga City and Lambayong in Sultan Kudarat will be covered in the government immunization campaign.

In other areas of Mindanao, children under age five will be given anti-polio vaccine.

Next week, the DOH will resume SPKP in Metro Manila as part of the government’s efforts to protect children under age five from polio.

A total of 1.4 million children under five years of age from Metro Manila received additional protection from polio during the anti-polio campaign held from Jan. 27 to Feb. 7, according to the WHO.

The global agency said the outbreak of polio in the country is far from over, thus parents and caregivers are urged to bring their young children to health centers for free polio immunization.

An outbreak of polio in the country was declared in September last year after the DOH confirmed the re-emergence of the infectious illness in the country after 19 years. Since then, a number of confirmed polio cases have been reported in various areas in Mindanao.

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