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Malaysia records first polio case in 27 years

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Kuala Lumpur | December 8, 2019 9:41:22 PM IST
A three-month-old Malaysian boy has been diagnosed with polio, the first case reported in the country in 27 years, the Health Ministry confirmed on Sunday.

The three-month-old Malaysian boy from Tuaran -- Sabah -- had been admitted into a hospital's Intensive Care Unit after experiencing fever and weakness of limbs, The New Strait Times reported after quoting Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He added that the last polio case in Malaysia occurred in 1992, and in 2000, after which the country was declared polio-free.

In the recent case, the child was confirmed to be infected with the vaccine-derived poliovirus Type 1 (VDPV1) on December 6 this year.

"The patient is currently undergoing treatment in an isolation ward and is in a stable condition but needs respiratory support," Abdullah said in a statement issued today.

He added that the VDPV1 is classified as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) Type 1.

"The cVDPV originates from poliovirus that has been weakened by the orally-administered polio vaccine," he said.

"Those who have been vaccinated will be protected from infection. The weakened virus has been excreted from the body through the faeces," he added.

However, in unsanitary environments, the virus can infect others who have not been immunised against polio and will thus spread in communities whose polio immunisation rates are less than 95 per cent, the minister said further.

"The longer the virus spreads in the community, it will undergo genetic mutation until it once again becomes an active virus," he stressed.

"The parents of the children have agreed to have them vaccinated," he said.

Polio or poliomyelitis is a potentially deadly infectious disease caused by the poliovirus and can cause paralysis by invading a person's brain and spinal cord. The disease has no cure and can only be prevented through vaccination. (ANI)

 
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