Vientiane (VNA) – Laos has declared state of emergency after the fifth case of poliomyelitis was confirmed in the country.

In a decree issued on January 13, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong ordered all public and private organisations and communities, mostly in rural areas, to work together to prevent the further spread of polio virus.

He also recommended that businessmen and travellers from ASEAN member states be vaccinated against polio before entering Laos.

The decree is set to remain in force until six months after the end of the state of emergency is officially announced.

The country’s health authorities have been working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to deal with the outbreak 15 years after the country was declared free of the disease. It claimed two deaths in 2015 in Laos.

A three-round national oral immunisation campaign in the country is underway as part of the global campaign to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to the WHO, polio is a highly infectious viral disease transmitted by person-to-person, mainly through the faecal-oral route.

The virus invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis.-VNA