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Davao River contaminated with polio virus

/ 10:12 PM September 23, 2019

DAVAO CITY—Health authorities here confirmed that the Davao River had been found positive of the polio virus, prompting them to order a massive polio vaccination drive next month, targeting all children in the city.

Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, City Health Officer, said the water samples earlier submitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) confirmed the presence of polio virus in the Davao River, prompting health authorities here to set in motion a massive vaccination drive that would begin next month to stop the spread of the virus.

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“In October, there will be an outbreak response vaccination. Every children is targeted to be covered,” she said.

Villafuerte, however, gave assurance that there was no confirmed polio case here yet.

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She said Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, would be among areas for a massive vaccination campaign aside from the National Capital Region (NCR), Lanao del Sur province, Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal and Quezon) provinces.

Villafuerte said the City Health Office would involve the community in the fight against polio resurgence. All village officials would be gathered on Sept. 24 for a planning session.

Village chiefs, she said, should be at the forefront of the fight against polio resurgence and report cases of paralysis immediately.

She added that village officials should also be responsible for proper human waste disposal.

There was no need for resorts to shut down swimming pools, though, she added. But she cautioned the public against swimming in the city’s resorts until the waters were declared safe.

She added that swimmers, especially children, “may ingest contaminated water.”

She also asked resort owners to make sure their water is clean. “They should disinfect the water,” she added.

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Parents should be aware of the symptoms of polio like fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and sudden floppiness of arms or legs.

Villafuerte said if parents see these signs on their children, “please go to the doctor immediately.”

Department of Health data showed that coverage of polio immunization in Davao City was only 72 percent from 2016 to 2018.

Villafuerte said people who have had complete shots of polio vaccine need not worry./TSB

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TAGS: Davao City, health office, immunization, Polio, River, Vaccination, Virus, water samples
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