THE first positive case of polio in Central Luzon has been reported on Saturday, February 15, about five months since the outbreak of the disease was declared in the Philippines.
This was confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH)-Central Luzon, noting that the patient is a one-year-old boy from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
According to the health department, the patient was detected after manifesting fever and the sudden onset of weakness on the left lower limb through the surveillance of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases in the community conducted by barangay health workers.
The DOH-Central Luzon said it is now in close coordination with the local government of Cabanatuan City in conducting rapid response to address the polio case.
The said two-week response includes catch-up immunization of children under five years old who have missed the oral polio vaccine (OPV) and/or inactivated polio vaccine, the health department said.
It added that it is also working with partners to strengthen environmental and AFP surveillance in the region to detect the poliovirus.
The DOH-Central Luzon said rapid coverage assessment will also be done to ensure that no child in the city will be left unvaccinated, while support and coordination of the community is highly sought.
“Barangay officials are encouraged to assist in the activities, especially in raising awareness and proper information dissemination, and persuading parents and caregivers to bring their children to vaccination sites,” the health department noted.
For other areas in the region, the DOH-Central Luzon said catch-up immunization continues to ensure that all doses of OPV are given to children under five years old and IPV, especially to those under one year old.
Parents, health workers and local governments are strongly urged to fully participate in polio vaccination and continue strengthening routine immunizations to prevent and stop such outbreaks and other vaccine preventable diseases.
Aside from immunization, the DOH also reminds the public to practice good personal hygiene, regularly washing of hands, use of toilets, drinking safe water, and thorough cooking of food.