MANILA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines reported on Friday that a five-year-old boy from Laguna province tested positive for the poliovirus, the second human case of polio recorded in the country this year.
According to the Philippine Department of Health (DOH), the second confirmed case was reported to be from "an immunocompromised child" or a child with an impaired immune system who is suffering from multiple pediatric diseases.
"The boy experienced the onset of paralysis on August 25, 2019. The boy has been discharged from the hospital and is able to walk. He is being closely monitored for residual symptoms," the DOH said in a statement.
On Thursday, the DOH reported the first polio case when a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur in the southern Philippine tested positive for the virus.
The discovery prompted the DOH to declare a polio outbreak 19 years after the Philippines was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000.
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque urged parents and caregivers of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives anew "to take part in the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities," adding it is the only way to stop the spread of this debilitating, and sometimes fatal disease.
Duque said the re-emergence of polio was brought about by low immunization coverage for polio, poor environmental sanitation and hygiene and low disease surveillance.
He explained that a single confirmed polio case of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) or two positive environmental samples that are genetically linked in two different locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country.
Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said the polio outbreak in the Philippines is "a very urgent situation."
"We all have to act very quickly and in a very concerted effort," he said.
The Philippines was declared polio-free since October 2000, with the last case of poliovirus reported in 1993.
Polio is an infectious disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal.
Polio is spread when the stool of an infected person is introduced into the mouth of another person through contaminated water or food.