The Malaysian government has on Sunday announced the report of its first polio case in 27 years, revealing that a 3-month-old baby had been diagnosed. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Malaysian Health Ministry Director-General said the baby had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), experiencing some symptoms.
She said, "The patient is currently undergoing treatment in an isolation ward and is in a stable condition but needs respiratory support,"
Malaysia was declared polio free in 2000. The last case in the country occurred in 1992.
In September, Philippines which share close border with Sabah, reported a case of polio outbreak.
Hisham stated that test results showed that the Malaysian child was infected with a strain that shared genetic links to the virus detected in the Philippines.
In recent years, Malaysia had recorded a number of deaths among children from diphtheria, a vaccine-preventable disease, because they did not receive immunization.
The Health Ministry DG said 23 children under the age of 15 were found to have not received immunization.
"This is a frustrating situation because the spread of the disease… can only be stopped with polio immunization," he said.
According to AFP, Public Health Expert, T. Jayabalan said the polio outbreak was not surprising as polio vaccine in Malaysia is not mandatory.
“This first case probably is the tip of the iceberg. There is a very high possibility of a rising trend,” he cautioned.