THE Department of Health (DoH) has confirmed a second case of polio after 19 years since the country was declared free of the disease.

In a statement, the agency on Friday said the polio case was of a five year-old-boy from Laguna after samples were examined by the Japan National Institute for Infectious Disease.

This is the second case this year after the first case in Lanao del Sur in southern Philippines was confirmed early this week.

The child, who experienced paralysis last month, is suffering from “multiple pediatric disease,” it said.

The DoH also said the child has been discharged and can walk but was being monitored.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III urged parents and caregivers of children below five years old to take part in the polio vaccination to be scheduled in communities.

“We are also reiterating our advisory to the public to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, to use toilets, drink safe water, and to cook food thoroughly,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DoH and Rotary International has signed a memorandum of agreement to increase polio awareness and strengthen a vaccination campaign against the resurgence of the virus after almost two decades.

In a separate statement, DoH said the Rotary’s 10 districts will support the polio vaccination campaign through fundraising, advocacy and volunteer recruitment.

The DoH-Metro Manila Center for Health Development will conduct three rounds of supplemental oral polio immunization for children under five years old.

The Health department said it would intensify monitoring of children below five years who have developed sudden muscle weakness or paralysis of the upper and lower extremities.

“It is unthinkable that a child will suffer from a disease that is highly preventable by vaccination,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in the statement.

Polio is caused by the poliovirus that infects the brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis or even death. There are no cures for polio but there are vaccines for its prevention. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas