'Setting is ripe' for polio recurrence in Philippines: health official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2019 12:54 PM

Children play by the seaside in Manila's Baseco district, considered by the health department as a hot spot for the recurrence of polio due to poor sanitation among others. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The "setting is ripe" for the recurrence of polio in the Philippines due to low vaccination coverage and poor sanitation in some areas, a health official said Wednesday.

The country was declared polio-free in 2000 and the last recorded case was in 1993, said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

The public scare generated by the recall of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia could be among the reasons for the low vaccination coverage. Bad sewage and open defecation can aid the spread of the virus, Domingo told ANC's Headstart.

"Wala pa namang cases kaya lang the setting is ripe for it to come back and we have to prevent it," he said.

(There are no cases yet. However, the setting is ripe for it to come back and we have to prevent it.)

"We don't want to lose that polio-free certification. We haven't had a polio case in 26 years. We don't want it to come back because it’s debilitating, it’s a very deadly disease," he said.

The DOH is moving to give polio vaccines to children below 5 years old. It's easier to convince parents to have their kids inoculated because it is taken orally.

Efforts are concentrated in Baseco and Tondo and Manila, which are considered "hot spots," he said.

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