Philippines confirms second polio case as outbreak declared two decades after disease was eradicated –

A mother watches as a health worker administers a polio vaccine during an anti-polio campaign in Manila on Friday CREDIT: TED ALJIBE/AFP

An outbreak of polio has been declared in the Philippines, with cases confirmed in two children almost 20 years after the country eradicated the incurable childhood disease.

On Thursday, health officials reported that a three-year-old girl had contracted polio in the southern province of Lanao del Sur, announcing a massive vaccination drive in response.

Just one day later it emerged that a five-year-old boy had tested positive for the disease some 870 miles away in Laguna, south of the capital Manila.

The authorities said that traces of polio have also been detected in the sewage system in Manila and in waterways in the southern Davao region.

Polio is a devastating and highly infectious childhood virus which invades the nervous system and can lead to paralysis. The disease can only be prevented by an oral vaccine – there is still no known cure.

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