Health department confirms 3 more polio cases

Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2019 04:20 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2019 04:41 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said it recorded 3 new cases of polio, bringing the total number of patients since September to 7.

In a statement, the DOH identified the patients as a 2-year-old girl from Maguindanao, a 1-year-old boy from Cotabato City, and a 4-year-old girl from North Cotabato.

The patients' samples were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, where they tested positive for polio, the DOH said.

The 2-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy were not vaccinated while the 4-year-old girl received incomplete doses, according to the DOH.

All 3 cases were admitted in the Cotabato Regional Medical Center.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III urged parents to have their children immunized during the next round of synchronized vaccination, which will take place in Mindanao and Metro Manila from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7.

"It is unacceptable that more children are falling victim to this vaccine-preventable disease," he said.

In September, the DOH confirmed the re-emergence of polio in the Philippines, 19 years after the World Health Organization declared the country free from the disease.

The first case was recorded in Lanao del Sur while the second and third cases were from Laguna and Maguindanao, respectively.

Earlier this month, the DOH confirmed the fourth polio case in Mindanao.

Polio is a highly contagious disease caused when the poliovirus invades the nervous system.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and sudden onset of floppy arms or legs. Severe polio cases can also lead to permanent paralysis or even death.