MANILA, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines reported on Monday that a 4-year-old girl from a town in southern Manguindanao province has tested positive for the polio virus, the third polio case in the country since September.
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the patient from Datu Piang town was initially reported as a case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) in September, after seeking consultation at a local provincial hospital.
"Presenting signs and symptoms were fever, diarrhea, vomiting and muscle pain," he said in a statement.
The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines confirmed in September that polio is re-emerging in the Philippines, 19 years after the country was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000.
Duque said DOH personnel and representatives from the WHO, and the UN Children's Fund Unicef were meeting with the town officials to discuss the outbreak response.
Duque said at the time that DOH has declared an "epidemic" or "outbreak" after the department found the disease in a 3-year-old in Lanao del Sur province, also in southern Philippines.
The second polio case was a 5-year-old boy from Laguna province, south of Manila.
Duque blamed the re-emergence of polio in the Philippines on low immunization coverage, poor environmental sanitation and hygiene, and low disease surveillance.
The Philippine government launched an aggressive polio immunization campaign after the reported outbreak.
Polio is an infectious disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal. There is no cure for polio. However, it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.
Polio is spread when the stool of an infected person is introduced into another person through contaminated water or food.