WHO declares eradication of second strain of wild poliovirus strain

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2019   •   373

A child receives an oral polio vaccine from Red Cross volunteers during a vaccination program by the UNICEF at a public school building turned into a temporary evacuation center in the super typhoon devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, 26 November 2013. EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, hailing the development as a “historic achievement for humanity.”

The WHO made the announcement on World Polio day on Oct. 24.

There are three strains of wild poliovirus. All three types can cause irreversible paralysis or even death but the WHO said these three have genetic and virologic differences that must be eradicated individually.

The WPV3 is the second poliovoirus strain to be wiped out following the eradication of wild poliovirus 2 in 2015. The last confirmed case of WPV3 was reported in northern Nigeria in 2012, according to the WHO.

An independent panel of experts concluded that WPV3 strain has been eradicated after meeting the required criteria for verification.

“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board said in a statement.

“We remain fully committed to ensuring that all necessary resources are made available to eradicate all poliovirus strains. We urge all our other stakeholders and partners to also stay the course until final success is achieved,” he added.

According to Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, the type 1 of wild poliovirus still continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We cannot stop our efforts now: we must eradicate all remaining strains of all polioviruses,” Salisbury said in a statement.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal.

Health authorities 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.

The WHO said eradicating WPV3 proves that a polio-free world is achievable. Key to success will be the ongoing commitment of the international development community. 

“To this effect, as part of a Global Health Week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in November 2019, the Reaching the Last Mile Forum will focus international attention on eradication of the world’s deadliest diseases,” the WHO said.

The agency believes the event will provide an opportunity for world leaders and civil society organizations to contribute to the last mile of polio eradication.

Children without anti-measles vaccines more susceptible to other diseases

Maris Federez   •   November 12, 2019

DOH Region 4A conducts anti-measles immunization program as number of infection cases, deaths continue to increase in the region.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health is looking into the recently released Harvard Medical School study on the possibility that children who are not inoculated with anti-measles vaccines may be susceptible to acquiring other kinds of diseases.

This is what the DOH calls “immune amnesia”, which impairs the immune memory of an individual who has not received the anti-measles vaccine.

The measles vaccine is capable of preventing the body from “forgetting” the immune memory that protects it against infections and diseases.

“If you do not get vaccinated and you get infected with measles chances are your protective antibodies which are already in your system will be reduced significantly or substantially,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

This is why the DOH continually reminds parents to have their children vaccinated, especially those within 6 to 59 months.

“For example, you had antibodies against polio pero wala kang antibodies against measles, nagkaroon ka ng measles infection, iyong measles infection mo will influence the downward reduction, the reduction of your protective antibodies to other infection like polio, diphtheria, pertussis. So talagang it makes more sense to really have your children vaccinated kasi mayroon ganoong problema,” Duque added.

To date, the DOH has recorded 98% anti-measles immunization coverage for children within 6 to 59 months. (from the report of Aiko Miguel)

Adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 5, 2019

Much as we enjoy being a couch potato, our bodies need the right amount of exercise to stay healthy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults ages 18–64, to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of rigorous physical activity a week.

Studies have shown that physically adults have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

Other benefits include:

  • less risk of a hip or vertebral fracture;
  • exhibit a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness; and
  • more likely to achieve weight maintenance, have a healthier body mass and composition.

The WHO said the recommendation is applicable to all healthy adults. However, there will be adjustments depending on the exercise capacity of an individual and the specific health risks or limitations.

“There are multiple ways of accumulating the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week,” according to their statement.—AAC

Indonesia requires travelers from PH to secure int’l certification vs. polio

Marje Pelayo   •   October 29, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta on Monday (October 28) issued an advisory regarding the Indonesian government’s newly imposed measures for travelers coming from the Philippines following the reported third case of polio virus infection in the country.

According to the advisory, all travelers from the Philippines who wish to enter and stay in Indonesia for at least four weeks need to have immunization from vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) Type 2.

Each traveler should, at least, present an International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) or other acceptable document as proof of anti-polio immunization.

The embassy added that in case the traveler is unable to present poof of immunization, Indonesian port authorities will provide vaccination and certification for a fee of IDR175,000 or about P675.

If the traveler refuses vaccination, the embassy said, he or she will be banned entry to Indonesia and eventually face deportation.

The advisory clarified, however, that the new measure applies only for travelers who intend to stay in Indonesia for at least four weeks.

Travelers who wish to stay for less than the given period are exempted from the forced vaccination.

Likewise, vaccination is not mandatory to departing passengers, the embassy said.

UPDATED ADVISORY ON POLIO

Posted by Philippine Embassy in Indonesia on Monday, 28 October 2019

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