Philippines declares first polio outbreak in nearly two decades

Philippines declares first polio outbreak in nearly two decades
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Philippine health officials on Thursday declared a polio outbreak in the country, The Associated Press reported.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said authorities confirmed the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease in a 3-year-old girl and detected the polio virus in sewage in Manila and in waterways in the southern Davao region, according to AP.

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Those cases were enough to declare an outbreak in the country, which has been free of the disease for nearly two decades, he added.

The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund have expressed concern for the situation.

“As long as one single child remains infected, children across the country and even beyond are at risk of contracting polio,” UNICEF Philippines representative Oyun Dendevnorov told the AP.

The two organizations said in a joint statement that the polio outbreak in the Philippines is especially concerning because it is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2.

Wild poliovirus type 2 was declared globally eradicated in 2015.