The City Health Office of the local government unit here is in the process of identifying children in the city’s 27 barangays who have not yet completed the required dosage of the anti-polio vaccine.
The office is also conducting an inventory of supplies needed in polio eradication.
City Health Officer Dr. Vito Borja, in an interview on Thursday, said the tracking and identification of the children’s names are an initial step in providing them with a complete dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV).
Borja said that at the age of six weeks, a child must be given a dose of OPV, which shall be given again when he/she reaches the ages of 10 and 14 weeks. Dispensation of IPV is to be done when the child reaches 59 months or less than 5 years old.
The health officer, however, said that the plan about conducting a mass vaccination against polio, wherein children who received a partial dose of anti-polio are prioritized, cannot be pursued without an advice from DOH.
“The absence of necessary instructions and guidance from DOH about the conduct of mass immunization would mean that polio virus has not yet reached Naga,” Borja said.
The DOH central office declared a polio outbreak last September 19 after confirming the re-emergence of the disease 19 years after the Philippines was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).
DOH has strengthened its surveillance against polio virus after it discovered polio cases in Lanao, Manila, and Davao.
Borja said signs and symptoms of polio include headache, fever, stiff neck, vomiting, fatigue, and sudden onset of floppy legs.
He said that proper hygiene must also be practiced by defecating in toilets, proper hand washing, making sure water is safe for drinking, and preparing and cooking food thoroughly.
Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system. It can lead to paralysis and death. Children below five years old are most vulnerable to the disease.
The DOH said the one confirmed case in Lanao – along with findings that two samples from Manila‘s sewage tested positive of polio virus — is “considered an epidemic in a polio-free country”. (PNA)