Today: Thursday, 30 May 2024 year

Polio returns to Philippines after 19-year absence

Polio returns to Philippines after 19-year absence

The Philippines need a new polio vaccination campaign, the World Health Organization suggests. One confirmed case of polio registered on Thursday marks a “re-emergence” of the vaccine-preventable disease in the country, Axios reports. In 2001, the WHO included the Philippines on a list of countries free from polio.

The lack of sanitation, low level of awareness and poor quality of medical services allowed polio to return in the Philippines, the experts believe. Francisco Duque, Health Secretary blamed the return of the virus, among other reasons, on “‘poor immunization coverage’.

In all countries, the immunization always was a guarantee against polio but the economic situation in the Philippines doesn’t allow its health public sector to work in a proper way. Lack of proper hygiene and poor surveillance by health workers are also the reasons triggered the disease’s return.

WHO: vaccination campaign is vital to the Philippines

The WHO announced plans to launch a new polio vaccination campaign alongside the country’s government in response to the outbreak. Health Secretary Duque confirmed that another UN body, UNICEF, will work with the country’s health department on launching the new anti-polio campaign.

The confirmed case in Lanao del Sur, a southern province, involves a 3-year-old girl, according to the health department. The other case involves “acute flaccid paralysis” and has not yet been confirmed.

“A single confirmed polio case of vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 or two positive environmental samples that are genetically linked isolated in two different locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country,” Duque told the NY Times.