PH polio cases climb to 16, including first in Metro Manila: DOH

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2020 03:21 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2020 04:00 PM

MANILA - Metro Manila recorded its first polio case as the total number of patients in the country rose to 16 since an outbreak was declared last September, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

The new cases include two patients from Maguindanao, both males, aged 2 and 3; a 2-year-old male from Sultan Kudarat; and a 3-year-old male from Quezon City, the DOH said in a statement, citing a report from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine.

In a text message, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the boy from Quezon City was the first-ever polio case recorded in Metro Manila since an outbreak was declared.

The patients manifested polio symptoms including fever, diarrhea, muscle pain, asymmetric ascending paralysis, and weakness of extremities, according to the DOH. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, meanwhile, urged parents to have their children, especially those aged 5 and below, immunized against the disease.

The rise was reported despite an intensified vaccination campaign by the DOH.

The government has scheduled a mass vaccination against the disease in Mindanao from January 20 to February 2 and Metro Manila on January 27 to February 7.

Duque also ordered all health facilities to strengthen their surveillance on acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), a manifestation of polio.

Health facilities are required to report every case of AFP in any child under age 15 and gather stool samples from the patient to check for polio.

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