By the Philippine News Agency
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded seven suspected cases of poliomyelitis (polio) since January this year in Region 9.
Dr. Dennis Dacayanan, Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) head, disclosed Monday that the seven is among the 15 cases of suspected Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) they have recorded in the region. Dacayanan said eight of the cases later yielded negative for polio virus.
The AFP is defined as a sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in any part of the body of a child less than 15 years of age.
Dacayanan said the results of seven suspected cases is still pending with the DOH’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
He said four of the seven suspected cases were recorded in this city, two in Zamboanga Sibugay and one in Zamboanga del Sur.
Following the discovery, the DOH official said they have strengthened surveillance after the DOH central office declared polio outbreak on September 19 after confirming the re-emergence of the disease 19 years after the Philippines has been declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Polio can be prevented through vaccination; three doses of Oral Polio Vaccine and one dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine are needed.
Signs and symptoms of polio include headache, fever, stiff neck, vomiting, fatigue, and sudden onset of floppy arms or legs.
Proper hygiene must also be practiced by defecating in toilets, proper handwashing, making sure water is safe for drinking, and prepare and cook food thoroughly.