DOH – CAR under the leadership of OIC Regional Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, in a public health advisory, informed that Polio was first diagnosed in a 3 – year old girl in Lanao Del Sur then in a 5 – year old boy in Laguna. Environmental samples in sewage in Manila and waterways in Davao tested positive of the virus.
While there is no recorded case in the region, DOH – CAR advises the public to practice good personal hygiene which include regular hand washing, proper use of toilets, drinking of safe water and cooking of food thoroughly.
The health department also advises parents or guardians to have their children ages 5 years old and below be vaccinated so they will be protected against the virus. Although there is no cure for polio, it is a vaccine- preventable disease.
DOH also enjoins the support of local government units in improving sanitation, intensifying disease surveillance and health promotions and in strengthening vaccinations campaign to protect their respective communities against the virus.
Medical Officer IV Dr. Mary Crist Jamora of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, in a kapihan media forum, explained the importance of ensuring that majority (at least 85 percent) of the population is vaccine – protected, because polio which can cause paralysis and even death, is a highly contagious viral disease which mainly affect young children.
There are two types of proven safe and effective vaccines, the Oral Polio vaccine (OPV) and the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) that have been in use for 30 years already..
For the best effect of the anti polio vaccines, Jamora also advises the public to make sure that children will complete the multi – dose vaccine, wherein the first dose is given to 6 - week babies with two follow – up doses as the child reaches 10 and 14 weeks then another two booster doses at 12 – 15 months and at 4 – 6 years old.
Polio virus is vaccine- preventable and proper sanitation and hygiene can also help prevent contamination, she added. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)