3-year-old boy is latest Sabah polio patient

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the child had not received polio vaccination since birth. (AFP pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Another child has been infected with polio in Sabah, making it the fourth case in the state since last December.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the three-year-old boy, a non-citizen, lives in the Sandakan district.

“He has never received polio vaccination since birth. The child exhibited symptoms of a weak left leg on Jan 18 and was treated in hospital,” he said in a statement, adding that he was in stable condition.

He said the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) referral lab in Australia confirmed that it was a polio case on March 5.

Noor Hisham said the other cases involved a three-year-old boy in Tuaran and two other children, aged eight and 11, from Sandakan and Kinabatangan, respectively.

He said only the patient from Tuaran was still being treated in hospital.

“The boy is in stable condition but still needs help from a respiratory apparatus,” he said.

The children, who were also non-citizens, had not obtained polio vaccination previously.

Noor Hisham also said that during an anti-polio field exercise, health workers found a foreign girl, aged two, with symptoms of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) in Semporna on Jan 24.

He said the girl had fever, followed by weakness in her leg and could not move as usual seven days later.

“She was not brought in for treatment. Based on checks by a panel of experts, the case was classified as polio compatible considering the symptoms were similar to polio,” he said.

However, he said, it was not classified as a polio case, based on the global polio eradication guidelines.

He said the child, who has been given oral polio vaccination (OPV), was under observation.