The Philippines has reported its first case of polio in almost two decades, prompting health authorities to declare an epidemic and mount a mass immunization drive.
A three-year-old girl from the southern province of Lanao del Sur was the first confirmed polio case in the Philippines since 2000, when the Southeast Asian nation was declared free from the infectious disease, the Department of Health said in a statement Thursday.
Poliovirus, which causes the crippling and potentially fatal disease, has also been detected in water samples from Manila and Davao. A single confirmed case or two positive samples from different locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country, the Health Department said.
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