A new case of a disease suspected to be polio has been reported in Cross River State, according to a Channels Television news report.
The case, which was reported on Tuesday, was said to have caused partial paralysis of an infant, Anthony Edet Eyibio, in Ekpene-Eki community of Odukpani Local Government Area of the state.
Responding to the report, the Nigerian government said it would immediately deploy a large scale immunization and surveillance system to the state.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said the surveillance teams would take samples for analysis and immunize children in the state against potential spread of the disease.
Mr. Adewole however was of the view the infant may only be suffering a deformity known as club foot rather than polio.
The state government too insisted that Cross River remains polio free.
The Director-General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Betta Edu, said a “surveillance team has been called to get samples from the child in order to test and have a concrete cause of the partial paralysis”.
She added that until the test results were released, which would take less than a week, the main reason for Anthony’s condition could not be placed.
According to little Anthony’s aunt, the disease was noticed in the boy when he was three months old.
She said that since the discovery of the symptoms in the child however, he had remained without proper medical attention as the only health facility in the area seemed not to be able to handle the case.
She therefore pleaded with relevant health agencies to come to the aid of Anthony, in order to give him a better hope for the future as he had been abandoned by people around him.
If the case is confirmed as polio, it would represent a setback for efforts to eradicate the disease from Nigeria.
The country’s hope for a polio-free certification by the World Health Organization (WHO) had initially suffered a major setback in August 2016, when four new cases of wild polio virus were discovered in three local government areas of Borno State liberated from the Boko Haram insurgents.
It was also alleged that $400 million donor funds meant to manage polio in Nigeria had been stolen.
Mr. Adewole however denied the reports of the theft.