Health officials confirmed on Thursday, January 9, that two new polio cases have been reported in Sabah state. The two children were infected with a polio strain that reportedly shared genetic links with the virus detected in cases in the Philippines, which reported its first cases of polio since 1993 in September 2019.
Malaysia, which was declared polio-free in 2000, has recorded its first case of the disease in December 2019, since 1992.
Poliomyelitis, or polio, is an infectious disease caused by the transmission of the poliovirus through the intestines. The poliovirus is typically transmitted from one person to another by ingesting food or water containing infected fecal matter; in rare instances, it can be spread through infected saliva. Most poliovirus infections are asymptomatic while minor symptoms include fever, headache, and sore throat. One percent of infections enter the central nervous system, causing neck, back, and extremity pain, vomiting, and lethargy.
Individuals in Malaysia are advised to verify their vaccination status and monitor developments to the situation.