MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) is considering the expansion of polio vaccination drive to other regions following the confirmation of the 17th polio case in the country, a health official said Monday.
“We’re waiting for the recommendation of our technical advisory group of the World Health Organization, which gives us the directions on what to do next based on our situation. While we’re waiting for that decision, they already advised us to strengthen surveillance, do retrospective review of records, we’ve gone to the areas and made investigations and we’d like to see the catch up of vaccination in that area,” Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press conference at the DOH main office.
On Saturday, the DOH reported one confirmed polio case in Nueva Ecija, bringing the total number of polio cases in the country to 17.
Vergeire said the case is a one-year-old boy from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija who manifested fever and sudden onset weakness of the left lower limb.
The DOH detected the case through the surveillance of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases in the communities done and reported by barangay health workers.
“Ang pamilya ay medyo resistant sa pagdala ng bata sa ospital dahil may paniniwala sila sa kultura at gusto nila maipagamot sa kanilang (The family is quite resistant about bringing the child to the hospital because they have cultural beliefs and they want the child treated by their) local leader. When we knew about this we wanted to have strengthened surveillance in the area,” Vergeire said.
She added that environmental samples collected from Butuanon River in Cebu tested positive for the poliovirus as confirmed by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine and that the DOH is assisting the cities of Cabanatuan and Mandaue in strengthening their AFP surveillance capacities, including their identification and reporting mechanisms.
Earlier, the DOH said it continues to implement the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign in the National Capital Region and all regions of Mindanao. The succeeding SPKP round will run from February 17 to March 1 in all regions of Mindanao and February 24 to March 8 in Metro Manila.
“We’re not supposed to panic as long as we’re doing what the DOH is saying about polio, dapat mapabakunahan ang ating mga anak, kapag may mga symptoms na ma-exhibit ang ating mga anak, dalhin sila agad sa pinakamalapit na health facility at dapat maging malinis sa kapaligiran dahil kung walang maayos na palikuran kumakalat ang sakit na ito (our children must be vaccinated, when our children exhibit symptoms, bring them to the nearest health facility, and the environment should be clean because when there’s no clean toilet, this disease spreads),” Vergeire said. (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com/PNA)