First Case of Polio is Confirmed in Metro Manila
When the Department of Health (DOH) recorded two cases of polio back in September 2019, it immediately declared a national outbreak. That’s how serious polio is. Since then, there have been six more cases in Mindanao, and one in Laguna.
Then, on January 16, the DOH confirmed four more cases of polio, all afflicting children: two boys aged two and three from Maguindanao, a two-year-old boy from Sultan Kudarat, and a three-year-old boy from Quezon City, according to a report by Rappler. Samples of sewage water in Metro Manila tested positive for poliovirus types 1 or 2.
According to the DOH in October 2019, it had completed 95.4 percent of initial vaccination rounds of children aged 5 and below. With four new cases, and one being in the densely populated Metro Manila, the health department is urging families to participate in the catchup vaccinations.
Polio spreads more easily in densely populated areas with poor sanitation, which is why there is significant concern for informal settlers in Metro Manila.
What is polio?
Poliomyelitis or polio is a highly contagious disease caused by poliovirus. The virus invades the nervous system by way of contact with feces. Poliovirus in feces enters the body through the mouth and is retransmitted through the infected person’s feces.
Symptoms of polio include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain, stiff neck, asymmetric ascending paralysis, and weakness of extremities. It can lead to permanent paralysis and death.
Since polio is transmitted through physical contact with feces, it is highly advised to wash your hands regularly, particularly before meals, and after using the toilet. Children are highly susceptible to the disease, which is why vaccination is imperative.