Philippines records new polio case, resumes vaccine drive

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2019 12:30 PM | Updated as of Nov 25 2019 05:28 PM

A child receives an oral polio vaccine in General Santos City, Nov. 25, 2019. ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) -- The Philippines on Monday confirmed its eighth polio case since September, as it kick-started a 2-week long vaccination drive to contain the resurgence of the disease.

The new case is a 9-year-old girl from the southern island of Basilan who was not immunized against polio, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

In a statement, the Department of Health (DOH) said the girl's samples were sent to the government's Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, and came out positive for the virus.

The DOH said it is coordinating with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao's Ministry of Health to "maximize immunization coverage and intensify polio vaccination efforts in Basilan."

Duque urged parents to avail of the free polio vaccine given by the government in health centers.

During a previous immunization drive from Oct. 14 to 27, the DOH covered 96 percent of its target in Metro Manila, 92 percent in Davao del Sur, and 85 percent in Lanao del Sur.

Last September, the DOH confirmed the return of polio in the Philippines 19 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the country free from the disease.

Polio is a "highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children," according to the WHO. Severe polio cases may cause paralysis and death.

Children are recommended to receive 3 OPV doses and one shot of inactivated polio vaccine to be fully protected from the disease.

-- With a report from Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News