According to a Facebook post by the Bucal Municipality of Bucal, the river or basin in the middle of the two barangays, or the water from Pamana Homes to Laguna de Bay, has contracted poliovirus following a study conducted by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).
“Kami po ay humihingi sa inyo ng lubos na pakikiisa na huwag munang bumaba (lumusong) o pumunta sa nasabing lugar para makaiwas sa anumang ikasasama sa kalusugan,” they said.
(We urge you to make the most of your efforts not to go to the area to avoid any health hazards.)
“Siguraduhin po natin na hindi kontaminado ang ating iniinom na tubig at iwasan po na tayo ay makainom galing sa NAWASA na hindi napapakuluan lalo’t higit sa mga bahayan na malapit sa nasabing lugar,” the authorities added.
(Make sure that our drinking water is not contaminated and that we avoid drinking water from the NAWASA that are not boiled, especially in neighborhoods near the area.)
The Philippines has been polio-free for 19 years until DOH confirmed on September 14 that a 3-year-old girl had the disease and “now apparently well but with residual paralysis” in Lanao del Sur.
The DOH noted there is “no cure for polio” and that “it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.”
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Poliovirus outbreak due to Dengvaxia scare
Earlier, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III warned the public that the Philippines is at “high risk for poliovirus transmission” as oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage decreased in the past years.
“In 2018, the vaccine coverage for the third dose of OPV was 66 percent. This figure is below the 95 percent target required to ensure that the whole population is protected against polio,” Duque said.
The drop in polio immunization was traced back to the Dengvaxia vaccine scare in 2017. The government approved the school-based dengue vaccination in 2015. As of today, there are 145 deaths (142 children and three adults) allegedly caused by Dengvaxia.
DOH urged parents to have their children, especially those below five years old, to have the anti-polio vaccine.