Afghan capital Kabul reported First polio case since 2001

Feb 12, 2014 14:10 IST

Afghanistan PolioThe Capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, reported its first case of polio since 2001 on 11 February 2014. The three-year-old from a nomadic family living on the northeastern edge of the city contracted the disease.

 After detecting the first case, Afghanistan has launched an emergency polio vaccination campaign in Kabul.

The highly contagious polio virus remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but Kabul city has not had reported case since the Taliban regime was ousted by a US-led invasion in 2001.

The polio strain in the Pakistan and Afghanistan is identical. Around 1.5 million children crossed the frontier every year, which causes cross-border transmission. Nearly all of the cases in Afghanistan in 2013 were in regions close to the Pakistan border.

imageSince the Afghan Taliban changed their policy, allowing vaccination in recent years, there has been a decline in cases in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has deployed health workers at the border crossings, attempting to monitor all children who cross, and vaccinating those at risk.

Besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nigeria is the only other country in the world where polio is still endemic. In all the three countries Islamic extremists have obstructed health workers, preventing polio eradication campaigns from taking place.

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