Malaysia reports first case of polio since 1992

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Malaysia’s health ministry said it will run a vaccination drive in a rural town on Borneo island, after a three-month-old boy from the town was diagnosed with polio in the country’s first case of the highly infectious virus in 27 years.

Malaysia was declared polio free in 2000 after reporting its last known case in 1992.

The resurgence of the disease comes just months after the Philippines reported a polio outbreak in September, its first cases in more than two decades.

Tests showed that the baby boy was infected with a polio strain that shared similar genetic links with the Philippine cases, Malaysian officials have said.

“Where there are outbreaks like this, we intensify our campaigns. There is no cause for alarm but we will intensify our work,” Malaysia’s Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said during a news conference.

In recent years, Malaysia has faced a challenge convincing some parents to immunise their children.

In 2016, five children died from diphtheria, a vaccine-preventable disease, prompting an outcry among health officials.