Mindanao Times

Polio returns to haunt Malaysia after 30 years


MALAYSIA has reported its first polio case in 27 years, health authoritie­s said Sunday, announcing a three-month-old baby had been diagnosed on Borneo island.

The Malaysian health ministry’s director-general, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said the baby from Tuaran in eastern Sabah state had been admitted into intensive care after experienci­ng fever and muscle weakness.

“The patient is currently undergoing treatment in an isolation ward and is in a stable condition but needs respirator­y support,” Noor Hisham said, adding that the infant was diagnosed on Friday.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which has no cure and can only be prevented with several doses of oral and injectable vaccines. It affects the nervous system and spinal cord and can be fatal in rare cases.

Over the past three decades the world has made great strides in the battle against polio. The World Health Organizati­on said only 33 cases were reported worldwide last year.

Malaysia was declared polio free in 2000. The last case in the country occurred in 1992.

The diagnosis comes after the Philippine­s, which shares a close sea border with Sabah, was hit in September by its first polio case in nearly two decades.

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