Manila – The Philippines on Monday reported the third confirmed case of polio in the country, more than a month after the re-emergence of the highly contagious disease.
The patient is a 4-year-old girl from the town of Datu Piang in Maguindanao province, 925 kilometres south of Manila, Health Secretary, Francisco Duque, said in a statement.
The girl was brought to the hospital on Sept. 26 for a sudden onset of paralysis.
“On Oct. 23, stool samples sent to the National Institute of Infectious Disease in Japan tested positive for vaccine-derived poliovirus 2,’’ Duque said.
The virus found in the third patient was “genetically linked’’ to the virus from the first case in nearby Lanao Del Sur province, he said.
The Department of Health announced on Sept. 19 that polio has re-emerged in the Philippines, 19 years after the World Health Organisation declared the country free of the disease.
The first case was a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur, while the second case was a five-year-old boy from Laguna province, just south of Manila.
The department has been holding door-to-door vaccination campaigns in various parts of the country to immunise more children against the disease.
There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with vaccination.
While polio is rarely fatal, it causes paralysis.
“I encourage all parents and guardians, to ensure that all of your children are protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases,’’ Duque said.
Health experts blamed low immunisation coverage, vaccine hesitancy, complacency, logistical concerns and busy lifestyles as some of the causes for disease outbreaks. (dpa/NAN)