DOH Davao commences polio vaccine today after water sample tested positive of poliovirus

Davao City Health Office (CHO) administers the polio vaccine today, October 14, for children ages 0 to 59 months old in all areas of Davao City to prevent the spread of poliovirus.

Though there were no reported human infections in Davao, the water sampling from the Davao River submitted to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for analysis and tested positive for circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 in September.

Health officials said the type 2 poliovirus resurfaced because of poor environmental sanitation and open defecation in Davao city areas.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a report on the status of a polio in the country.

According to UNICEF and WHO, the poliovirus type 2 would likely spread rapidly due to the “low level of population immunity” against the virus. The organizations also consider the virus as a public health emergency.

What is the poliovirus and polio vaccine?

Poliovirus causes polio or also known as poliomyelitis. Polio has been eradicated in every country of the world except for Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now in the Philippines.

Read: Polio outbreak in PH linked to Dengvaxia controversy

Polio can be paralytic or non-paralytic. Non-paralytic polio symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, vomiting, fatigue, back and neck pain, arm and leg stiffness, muscle tenderness and spasms, and meningitis.

Paralytic polio affects only a small percentage of those infected by the poliovirus.

Symptoms include loss of muscle reflexes, severe muscle pain and spasms, and loose or floppy limbs that are often worse on one side of the body.

People who carry the poliovirus can spread it via their feces for weeks.

There are two polio vaccines: inactivated poliovirus (IPV) oral polio vaccine (OPV). The IPV is a series of injections given two months after birth and continues until the child is 4 to 6 years old.

The OPV is a low cost, easy to administer, and gives a high level of immunity to children.