Davao City cautions public from swimming in polio virus-contaminated Davao River

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The city government of Davao has warned the people from swimming in the Davao River, which was confirmed to contain polio virus.

Davao City Health office (CHO) chief, Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, said the result of the water sampling taken from the Davao River by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on August 22 confirmed the presence of the virus.

She said swimming in the Davao River is strongly being discouraged.

“We’ve been checking the entire community if there are confirmed cases of poliovirus, so far there is none,” said Villafuerte.

She said the virus can be acquired through infected waterways and contaminated water bodies such as swimming pools.

“We also gathered all the resort owners, barangay captains of coastal barangays and those near the river banks to inform them of how they can help in the prevention of the spread of the virus,” she said.

“People should avoid swimming in the rivers and public swimming pools, should always wash their hands, ensure that they have own bathrooms, take the vaccine and maintain proper hygiene,” Villafuerte added.

“There is no age limit when it comes to poliovirus, one should be vaccinated for him to be safe against the disease,” she said.

The CHO is also expected to intensify its anti-polio vaccination.

The oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains an attenuated (weakened) form of the virus, activating an immune response in the body. When a child is immunized with OPV, the weakened virus replicates in the intestine for a limited period, thereby developing immunity by building up antibodies.

Villafuerte said the anti-polio vaccine can prevent the disease which mainly affects children under 5 years of age.