DOH confirms third polio case in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2019   •   578

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday confirmed the third polio case in the country.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the third case is a four-year old female from Datu Piang town in Maguindanao who did not receive any dose of the oral polio vaccine.

The girl was initially reported as a case of acute flaccid paralysis in September after seeking consultation at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center following bouts of fever, diarrhea, vomiting and muscle pain.

Stool samples sent to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan revealed the girl tested positive for vaccine-derived poliovirus 2, Duque said.

He added the isolated virus has been genetically linked to the virus from the first confirmed case in Morogong, Lanao del Sur.

The health official further stated it is awaiting results of samples it sent from another suspected polio case.

The first case was a three-year old girl from Lanao del Sur while the second case was a five-year old boy from Laguna. The disease re-emerged 19 years after the country was declared polio-free.

In response, Duque said the DOH will conduct a vaccination campaign in Datu Piang from November 4 to 8 for 4,254 children aged zero to 59 months.

The DOH, along with the World Health Organization, and United Nations Children’s Fund are also set to meet with local officials of Datu Piang on October 28 to 29 to discuss the outbreak response.

“I enjoin all parents and guardians, to ensure that all of your children are protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases,” Duque said.

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DOH logs 3,962 new cases in confirmed COVID-19 list

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reports that the total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases is now at 283,460 as of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020.

This, after 3,962 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list.

The DOH likewise announced 1,128 recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 209,885.

The health department’s latest bulletin showed that of the 3,962 reported cases today, 3,286 (83%) occurred within the recent 14 days (September 6 – September 19, 2020).

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were the NCR with 1,199 (36%), Region 4A with 780 (24%) and Region 3 with 446 (14%).

Of the 100 deaths, 66 occurred in September (66%), 16 in August (16%) 7 in July (7%) 4 in June (4%) and 7 in April (7%).  

Twenty-seven (27) duplicates were removed from the total case count. Of these, 15 were recovered cases, the report added. Another patient who recovered was verified to be a foreign national and was also removed from the total case count.

On the other hand, 17 cases which were previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation.

The department further reported that 10 laboratories were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System (CDRS) on September 18, 2020. These laboratories are:

  1. Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center
  2. Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital
  3. Kaiser Medical Center Inc.
  4. Lanao del Norte Covid-19 Testing Laboratory
  5. Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (GX)
  6. Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (RT-PCR)
  7. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  8. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics
  9. Taguig City Molecular Laboratory
  10. Valenzuela Hope Molecular Laboratory

The DOH said the numbers they receive undergo constant cleaning and validation. — /mbmf

Crushed dolomite along Manila Bay can cause respiratory issues, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday warned that the inhalation of crushed dolomite rock – the material used in the artificial white sand dumped along the Manila Bay – can cause respiratory issues.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that based on studies, a person may suffer adverse effects from inhaling dolomite dust.

“Sa mga pag-aaral, kapag na inhale natin ito, may mga adverse reactions, respiratory mainly,” Vergeire said.

“Pero hindi naman natin sinasabi na when you go to Manila Bay, you’ll get it at once. Yun lang sinasabi ng mga artikulo,” she added.

Aside from respiratory problems, dolomite dust may also cause irritation if it gets into a person’s eyes or gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested.

“Kapag napunta sa mata, nagkakaroon ng konting irritation so you just have to wash it off with water. Kapag ingested, it can have discomfort sa gastrointestinal system natin and magkakaroon ng sakit ng tyan at pagtatae,” Vergeire said.

“These are the minor effects of these dolomites na nilagay sa Manila Bay,” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last week implemented its initiative to adorn the Manila Bay shoreline with white sand using crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu Province.

The projects is part of the P389-million beach nourishment project.

Vergeire, however, said she trusts that the DENR has made studies on how dolomite will affect people and the environment before it approved the project.

Some groups have criticized the DENR’s move, saying dumping artificial white sand along Manila Bay was unnecessary and could even negatively affect the ecosystem.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Artiporda earlier argued that crushed dolomite rock is not harmful to the environment and is being used in some resorts.

“The dolomite stones, sabihin na nating dolomite stones, sandstones yan no, were being used by different resorts and beaches since the 1990s. So until now walang problema at maganda naman yung sitwasyon niya,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Dengue cases in PH down this year despite rainy season, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported that it has observed a decrease in the incidence of dengue cases in the country this year.

In a statement, the DOH said the number of deaths due to dengue declined by as much as 78% from January 1 to August 15 this year.

The department noted that cases of water-borne infection diseases, influenza, leptospirosis, dengue (WILD) usually peak at the start of the rainy season in the months of July and October. But for the year 2020, there was an observed significant decrease in the number of cases compared to the same period in 2019.

According to Dr. Norielyn Evangelista, Program Manager of the National Aedes-born Viral Diseases Prevention and Control Program, around 430,282 dengue cases were recorded for the whole of 2019.

But for this year, it significantly declined to 59,675, Evangelista said.

Dengue mortalities have also dropped from 2019 with 1,612 deaths versus 231 in 2020, she added.

“After the dengue epidemic of 2019, we have been working vigorously to decrease dengue cases via a systemic approach that involves every level of the community,” Evangelista said.

The DOH official attributed the sharp decline in dengue cases to its strengthened initiatives, including surveillance, case management and diagnosis, outbreak response, and health promotion.

It also cited its cooperation with medical centers and local government units which aims to reduce WILD cases.

“Tulad ng laban kontra sa COVID-19, mas maiiwasan ang sakit kung tayo ay magtutulungan sa ating mga healthcare workers at LGUs para tuluyang masugpo ang threat ng dengue sa ating bansa,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said.

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