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Return of Polio: Create awareness among anti-vaccine groups

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olioMELAKA: Groups who reject vaccine especially parents who refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated should realise their mistake with the return of polio recently as the disease is preventable by vaccination.

Pediatric consultant and immunologist Datuk Dr Musa Mohd Nordin said this is because polio is a very dangerous disease with one in 200 infected patients suffering from paralysis while five to 10 per cent of those infected die.

He said what is even more alarming is that polio is easily transmitted through faeces, mucus, food, sanitation system and unhygienic conditions.

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“Up to today, there are no cures found for polio but polio can be prevented with vaccine which has proven to be safe and effective.

“Polio is a very serious disease, so make sure you get complete immunisation and for those who reject vaccine, I hope they would not regret their actions later,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

On Dec 6, a three-month-old baby boy from Tuaran, Sabah  was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital after being confirmed infected by vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1), which is the first polio case after Malaysia was declared polio-free 27 years ago.

According to the Malaysian National Immunisation Schedule, an infant should receive   inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) at two month, three month and five month with an additional dosage at 18 month.

Dr Musa said the level of immunisation to effectively prevent the disease in a certain community is 95 per cent and according to the Health Ministry, the national level immunisation should be is 96 per cent.

However, he said what is worrying is the failure of certain local communities in the country especially in the interior to obtain the vaccine due to ignorance leading to the failure to achieve 95 per cent immunisation.

“Congratulations to the Health Ministry for conducting monitoring and taking early response measures when the spread of polio was reported in Philippines two and a half months ago. I believe the ministry would be taking actions to improve the coverage of immunisation among communities with low immunisation now,” he said.

The media had earlier reported that investigation at the local community where the baby was found infected with polio, showed 23 out of 199 people aged between two months and 15 years did not receive polio vaccine, which showed there was only an 88.4 per cent polio coverage in the group.

— BERNAMA