A three-month-old infant in Cotabato City has been quarantined by the Department of Health (DOH) as the child is suspected to have contracted polio.
The DOH confirmed on Thursday that the child was admitted to and now confined at Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) earlier this week for having fever and paralysis of one leg.
According to Jenny Panizalez, Information officer of DOH-12, the hospital has already conducted some tests to determine whether the baby had indeed contracted poliomyelitis.
Some cases in the hospitals nationwide are being monitored, and as of Wednesday there is still no new confirmed infection reported.
Meanwhile, the reported seven Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases in Zamboanga peninsula are part of the regular monitoring of the DOH, said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
“All cases of AFP or kids who have sudden weakness of lower extremities have been observed, tested and checked if it’s polio and we are doing this all over the country. But so far, of all AFP cases, we only had two confirmed cases.”
“There’s no additional confirmed cases, the only confirmed cases are still from Lanao and Laguna,” Domingo added.
P250M against polio virus
As the spread of polio virus has been re-emerging in the Philippines after 19 years, the House of Representatives is giving aid to the DOH by giving addition funds of P250 million.
“Upon the instructions of Speaker (Alan Peter) Cayetano, we are augmenting the DOH budget for next year by P250 million to enable the agency to effectively fight the polio outbreak,” appropriations committee chair Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao City said yesterday.
The augmentation of the DOH, Ungab added, that it is among the realignments of a select House committee has agreed upon for the proposed national budget of P4.1 trillion for next year.
At the current state of polio virus in the country, the DOH is holding a supplemental polio vaccination in Manila, which will also be expanded to other areas in the city.
There will also be a mass polio vaccination from Davao City through Lanao Del Sur, and Lanao del Norte.
“We only have polio vaccination rate of 50 percent, so we have to continue it in Manila until we reach 100 percent and expand it to other areas in Metro Manila,” Domingo said.
The Philippine Red Cross also has 143 volunteers aiding the DOH in preventing the reemergence of the virus. They will update the list of all the children under five years, get their vaccination status, as well as specify the barangays with highest risk based on low vaccination coverage.