By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government has vowed to intensify its surveillance campaign after the first case of polio in Metro Manila emerged in Quezon City, almost 20 years after the disease was eradicated in the country.
Other polio cases in the Philippines were found in Mindanao last year.
Mayor Joy Belmonte issued the declaration as the Department of Health (DOH) reported that a 3-year-old child from Sitio Kaliwa, Batasan Hills has tested positive for polio.
She instructed the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) headed by physician Esperanza Arias “to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that it remains an isolated case.”
The mayor said the city government will closely coordinate with the DOH to ensure the disease is eradicated and prevent it from spreading further.
“The local government will also extend assistance to address the medical needs of the child,” Belmonte said.
She added that the Quezon City Health Department will conduct a massive information campaign to encourage residents to practice proper hygiene and handwashing.
Based on initial reports from the QCHD, the child received five doses of vaccine against polio.
The first three vaccines were administered when the child was still an infant and the other two during the DOH’s “Sabayang Pagpatak” campaign last year.
The child first showed symptoms of paralysis last Nov. 30, and then underwent a battery of tests at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Some of the samples were also sent to Japan for testing.
Based on test results from RITM and Japan that came out on Thursday, the victim was found positive for Type 2 Polio.
Dr. Arias said the city government will hold another round of vaccination against polio as soon as the needed supply from DOH arrives.