DOH confirms second polio case in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019   •   980

DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rotary International’s 10 Districts to heighten polio awareness and vaccination campaign in light of the reemergence of poliomyelitis in the country. (Courtesy: Department of Health)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed a second case of polio a day after it announced the re-emergence of the disease in the country after nearly 20 years.

In a statement, the DOH said that a five-year old boy from Laguna is the second confirmed case of the highly infectious disease after his samples sent to the Japan National Institute for Infectious Diseases tested positive for polio virus.

The department said the latest case was reported to be from an immunocompromised child who is suffering from multiple pediatric diseases.

The boy experienced the onset of paralysis last August 25. He has discharged from the hospital and is able to walk. He is closely being monitored for residual symptoms. 

On Thursday, the DOH confirmed that the first case of polio was a three-year old girl from Lanao del Sur.

Poliovirus was detected in water sewage samples taken from Manila and Davao during a regular environmental surveillance.

Its re-emergence in two different locations has prompted officials to declare a polio outbreak.

The DOH said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

“We continue to urge parents and caregivers of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives to take part in the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was quoted saying in the statement.

He added that this is the only way to stop the spread of this debilitating, and sometimes fatal, disease.

The health chief earlier said that the government is set to launch a series of synchronized oral polio immunization program for children under the age of five in areas at risk beginning October.

The department will also work with partners to strengthen environmental and Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance throughout the country to detect poliovirus.

“We are also reiterating our advisory to the public to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, to use toilets, drink safe water, and to cook food thoroughly,” he said.

DOH explains COVID-19 recoveries are symptoms-based, not test-based

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

All the mild and asymptomatic cases that had undergone quarantine for 14 days have been considered recovered after not exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH said this policy is the global standard where symptoms-based is used and not test-based in declaring a recovered COVID-19 patient.

Kapag asymptomatic po siya after 14 days without symptoms, they can already be tagged as recovered pwede na po siyang mag- trabaho (If he is asymptomatic after 14 days without symptoms, he can already be tagged as recovered and resume work), according to DOH Usec. Rosario Vergeire.

Still, Vergeire said that it is important that a recovered individual should have an assessment from a physician confirming his recovery.

The number of daily recoveries went up to over 38,000 on Thursday (July 30), with a total of 65,054 recovered cases. The daily number of cases, meanwhile, went over 3,000.

The DOH said the ‘mass recoveries’ and surge of cases is due to the ‘reconciliation efforts’ of the department to consolidate its data with the data of local government units (LGUs) through Oplan Recovery.

Oplan Recovery is the DOH’s initiative to monitor the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

COVID-19 cases in Phl hit 80,000 mark

Maris Federez   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, July 26, reported that the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country has reached 80,448.

The health department added that “a total of 2,110 confirmed cases are reported based on the total tests done by 66 out of 90 current operational labs.”

The DOH also confirmed 382 recoveries, bringing the total number to 26,110.

The recorded COVID-19 death toll, meanwhile, has reached 1,932 with an additional 39 fatalities.

The department noted that 74 duplicates were removed from the total case count.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire has earlier said that although the country has recorded an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the case doubling time has slowed down.

“Ang nakikita po nating dahilan dito ay dahil sa continuously improving na case treatment and management protocols ng ating bansa sa pag-handle ng mga COVID-19 patients,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the possibility of Metro Manila reverting to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will likely happen if the total number of COVID-19 cases reaches 85,000 in July as projected by the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research.

He added, however, that this could be avoided if the public will not ignore the minimum health standards now that many has been allowed to go out. — /mbmf

DOH aims to test 10-M Filipinos for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 21, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) aims to target 10 million Filipinos to undergo testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, however, said the government does not have the capacity to test all citizens, adding that no country has ever had the capacity to do so.

Hindi naman po natin pwede i-test ang bawa’t mamamayan wala pong bansang nakakagawa nito kahit ang pinakamayaman katulad ng United States of America (You cannot test every citizen, no country has done that even the richest ones like the United States of America),” he said.

However, Duque said they target to test 10% of the total population of the country by 2021. This would exceed the ratio testing capacity of America, Duque added.

“[Our target] is 10 million Filipinos to be tested by 2021. We hope to do the test at 32,000 to 40,000 a day,” he said.

READ: DOH to include PUV drivers in expanded COVID-19 testing

The DOH previously announced they will include other workers in their expanded COVID-19 testing while they recently announced the completion of a Filipino-made coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) test kit.

“We still have lots of testing kits. It’s about 2 million plus testing kits still left para gamitin sa goal na gusto natin (to be used to achieve our goal) for us to have sustained capacity for testing,” according to DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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