DOH confirms 4th case of polio in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday night, November 5, reported the country's 4th polio case since an outbreak was declared in September.

"The test conducted by our Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases-Japan confirms the fourth polio case in the country," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement, saying the case is "from Mindanao."

The DOH did not specify the age of the victim, nor where in Mindanao the case was found.

This is the 4th polio case since the resurgence of the disease in the country after 19 years. Two cases were reported in September – one in Lanao del Sur and another in Laguna – while a 3rd case in Maguindanao was reported in October. (READ: EXPLAINER: What is polio?)

The DOH said it is currently conducting a targeted polio vaccination campaign in the towns where the 3rd and 4th cases were found. The 3rd case was in Datu Piang in Maguindanao.

The rest of Mindanao will be covered in the next round of catch-up polio vaccination from November 25 to December 8.

The campaign involves door-to-door vaccination and ensures that barangay health units and municipal health centers have enough supply of the polio vaccine. Duque has repeatedly assured parents that stocks of oral polio vaccine are sufficient.

The health department on October 29 said that the first round of polio vaccination was a success, with 95.4% or roughly 1.7 million aged 5 below covered by the vaccination effort.

"We can defeat polio, but we need the public to trust and actively participate in our immunization programs," Duque said, urging parents to get their kids vaccinated.

Polio or poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease caused by poliovirus invading the nervous system. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and sudden onset of floppy arms or legs. In severe cases, it can lead to permanent paralysis or even death. Children below 5 years old are most vulnerable to the disease. – Rappler.com