Polio-Free Malaysia Diagnosed a Baby with Polio

Polio-Free Malaysia Diagnosed a Baby with Polio. Image: Public Domain
Polio-Free Malaysia Diagnosed a Baby with Polio. Image: Public Domain

Polio free Malaysia reports baby with polio after nearly three decades: Malaysia declared polio-free in 2000 after its last polio-affected case in 1992, has now confirmed a baby with polio. The three-month-old baby is currently in an isolation ward for treatment in the hospital. Vaccination not mandatory in Malaysia is the reason cited by health experts for incurable polio to resurface in Malaysia.

Noor Hisham Abdulla, the director-general of health in Malaysia in a statement, said that this is a worrying situation. Only 95 % of vaccination can control the spread of polio. The three-month-old baby from the Tuaran area of the Sabah State on Borneo island in Malaysia is now in stable but needs assistance to breathe.

The baby admitted to the hospital on complaints of fever muscle weaknesses is one of the 23 not vaccinated among the 193 babies in the locality. The authorities have now increased monitoring of AFP or acute flaccid paralysis, which is the common symptom of polio. Abdulla advised the parents to immunize their children for them to not being affected by polio.

Polio has no cure and invades the nervous system of children affected by it to cause irreversible paralysis within hours. Its virus rapidly spreads among children and especially those in unsanitary conditions. In Malaysia, like some parts of the world, immunization is difficult due to the people not willing to opt for it. In 2016 five children in Malaysia died to diphtheria, which is also preventable by vaccination. 

Only by immunization, the number of polio-affected children was reduced from 350,000 in 1988 to only 33 in 2018. Even if one child is affected by polio, it could endanger more than 200,000 children every year, which is what the WHO says on this polio epidemic.