DOH confirms 17th polio case in PH

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Another child has been reported to have polio in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 17, the Department of Health said Saturday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 15) — Another child has been reported to have polio in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 17, the Department of Health said Saturday.

The DOH said the latest case was a one-year-old boy in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. He suffered from fever and "sudden onset of weakness" on the left lower limb. The agency was able to detect the case, through surveillance of communities and reports by barangay health workers.

DOH added that samples from the Butuanon River in Cebu also tested positive for the poliovirus according to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine.

The World Health Organization describes polio is a highly infectious viral disease without a cure, but it can be prevented by multiple doses of vaccines. The DOH has been implementing mass vaccination campaigns among communities. The disease mainly infects young children and in some cases can cause permanent paralysis and can be potentially fatal.

The disease first reemerged in the country in September last year, nearly two decades after it was eradicated. The DOH immediately declared a polio outbreak after reporting the first confirmed case which was a three-year-old in Lanao del Sur.

The DOH said it will implement another round of its vaccination program from February 17 to March 1 in Mindanao and February 24 to March 8 in Metro Manila. It is also assisting Cabanatuan and Mandaue in their surveillance, identification and reporting mechanisms, it said.

In January, the department also scheduled a vaccination campaign from January 20 to February 2 in all regions of Mindanao and from January 27 to February 7 in Metro Manila.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement, "We have evidence that the poliovirus continues to spread. Our aim is to promptly diagnose and treat all possible polio cases."