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Philippines: Polio Outbreak - Sep 2019

Disaster types

On 14 September 2019, VDPV2 was confirmed in one three-year-old child with Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) symptoms, from Lanao del Sur (Mindanao). The isolated VDPV2 was found to be genetically linked to the 2 confirmed VDPV2 environmental samples. As a result, VDPV2 was classified as circulating (cVDPV2). On 19 September 2019, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the re-emergence of polio in the Philippines and declared a national polio outbreak, in line with International Health Regulations (IHR). Synchronized polio vaccination conducted in Manila in response to the 1st confirmed VDPV1 samples only reached 53.8% of the target number of children aged 0 to 59 months. (WHO/UNICEF, 19 Sep 2019)

On 19 September, the second VDPV2 case was confirmed in a 5-year-old boy from Laguna Province, approximately 100 km south-east of Metro Manila. Investigations and further characterization of the virus are ongoing. In addition, VDPV1 has also been isolated from environmental samples collected on 1 July, 22 July, 13 August, and 27 August from Manila. WHO currently assesses the risk of international spread from the Philippines to be low. However, the risk of further spread within the Philippines is high due to limited population immunity (coverage of bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was at 66% and 41% respectively in 2018) and suboptimal AFP surveillance. (WHO, 24 Sep 2019)

The re-emergence of the disease comes almost 20 years since the Philippines was declared polio-free in 2000. The last known case of wild poliovirus recorded in the Philippines was in 1993. (IFRC, 28 Sep 2019)

DOH is planning 3 vaccination rounds targeting 6,650,308 under-five children with monovalent Oral Polio Vaccine against poliovirus type 2 (mOPV2) in affected areas...DOH is planning 2 vaccination rounds targeting 2,553,262 under-five children with bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) in the National Capital Region (NCR). Enhanced routine immunization with 3 doses of bOPV as well as inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) nationwide is ongoing. (WHO/UNICEF, 9 Oct 2019)