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Two More Polio Cases Found In Sabah

Jan 10, 2020

two more polio cases found in sabahPhoto: The Straits Times

Only last month, Malaysians were alarmed at the re-emergence of the polio virus in Malaysia after 27 years. Now, two more new polio cases are confirmed in Sabah!

In a statement by the Director-General of Health Malaysia, Datuk Noor Hisham Bin Abdullah, two children were found to be infected by the polio virus, not long after a three month old Malaysian boy from Tuaran, Sabah was found to have polio last December.

Both the 11-year-old boy from Kinabatangan and 8-year old boy who lives in Sandakan have never been immunized before. The children were reported to be having fever before complaining of back pain and were unable to walk.

According to Hisham, the total number of confirmed polio cases is at three so far, and that all of them are still hospitalized, but in stable condition.

Based on the World Health Organization Polio RRL laboratory test in Australia, the polio virus that infected all three cases also had a genetic connection to the polio case in the Philippines.

two more polio cases found in sabahPhoto: Reuters

Since the first outbreak in Sabah, the Ministry of Health has increased the coverage of immunization to children, strengthening the surveillance for Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) and polio virus outbreaks in the area alongside providing health education to improve the residents’ knowledge on polio, immunization, personal hygiene and environment cleanliness.

“To date, 705 residents where the two children lived have been searched and no other Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases have been detected. A total of 65 children who were not given prior polio immunization in the affected areas are now given polio vaccine using a five-line combination vaccine (DTaP-IPV // HiB),” said Hisham.

The overall spread of the polio epidemic in Sabah is also being heavily monitored.

“The Sabah Polio Immunization Campaign (KIPS 2019/2020) targeting all children under five (5) years across Sabah began on December 27, 2019, where children were given two (2) doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV). The vaccine will build immunity in the gut to kill the polio virus if the child is infected, while ensuring that the virus does not continue to spread in the community,” he added.

The first polio case in Sabah last December was the first case of polio in Malaysia after the last case was diagnosed in 1992, and we were declared free of the disease in 2000.

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya

All Asia Broadcast Centre, Technology Park Malaysia,

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