MANILA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines reported on Wednesday three more confirmed polio cases in the southern Philippines, bringing the total cases to seven since the outbreak in September.
Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said the new cases includes a two-year-old girl from Maguindanao province, a one-year-old boy from Cotabato City and a four-year-old girl from Cotabato province.
Domingo said they are looking at water supply as the possible source of infection as polio virus is spread through oral-fecal route.
"It is unacceptable that more children are falling victim to this vaccine-preventable disease," Health Secretary Francisco Duque said, adding the Department of Health is "more determined than ever" to make sure that no child shall be missed during the next round of polio vaccination in Metro Manila and Mindanao.
On Nov. 25, the government will start another round of door-to-door vaccination activities in Metro Manila and entire Mindanao in the southern Philippines. This will be expanded to the rest of the country next year.
"We are reiterating to all parents and caregivers to have their 0 to 59 months children immunized with the polio vaccine from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7," Duque added.
Duque said polio is best prevented through vaccination. Proper hygiene like hand washing will also help in the prevention, he added.
On Sept. 19, 2019, the Philippines declared a polio outbreak after the infectious disease reappeared 19 years after the country was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization in 2000.
Four polio cases have been reported previously - a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur province, a four-year-old girl from Maguindanao province, a three-year-old girl from Sultan Kudarat province, all in southern Philippines - and a five-year-old boy from Laguna province.
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 the mouth of another person through contaminated water or food.