Polio returns to Afghan capital after 13 years

Afghanistan has launched an emergency polio vaccination campaign in Kabul after a girl contracted the disease, the city's first case since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

The three-year-old from a nomadic family living on the northeastern edge of the city was diagnosed after being admitted to hospital in neighbouring Pakistan, a spokesman for the Afghan public health ministry said Tuesday.

The spokesman, Kaneshka Baktash Turkistani told AFP it was not clear whether the girl had contracted the virus in Kabul or Pakistan.

The highly contagious polio virus remains endemic in both countries, but Kabul city has not had a reported case since the Taliban regime was ousted by a US-led invasion more than a decade ago.

Turkistani said the Pakistani authorities had informed his ministry of the incident.

"After this, we launched an emergency polio campaign in Kabul and luckily so far, we have not found any other cases of polio," he said.

Besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nigeria is the only other country in the world where polio, a disease that paralyses children, is still endemic.

Due to massive internationally-backed efforts the number of cases has dropped significantly in Afghanistan in recent years, with most reported from the insurgency-hit south.

Despite targeting health workers associated with the government, Taliban insurgents have allowed polio vaccination teams to visit their areas in recent years, a move that authorities say has helped to contain the disease.

This contrasts sharply with the situation in Pakistan, where militants have branded polio campaigns as cover for espionage and routinely attack vaccination teams.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India celebrates victory over polio (Update)

Feb 11, 2014

Indian leaders celebrated the eradication of polio on Tuesday, reminding doubters that something once thought impossible had been achieved and promising to tackle other diseases which still blight the country.

Polio cases in Pakistan pass 2012 total

Nov 13, 2013

Polio is on the rise in Pakistan, health officials said Wednesday, as the number of infections in 2013 passed the total for the whole of 2012.

Egypt to vaccinate after polio found in sewer (Update)

Jan 24, 2013

Egypt will carry out a vaccination campaign for children in parts of Cairo after polio was recently found in the capital's sewage, believed to have been brought to the country from Pakistan, a Health Ministry official said ...

Recommended for you

Girls in Colombian town struck by mystery illness

3 hours ago

A mystery illness has overwhelmed a small town in northern Colombia as scores of teenage girls have been hospitalized with symptoms that parents fear could be an adverse reaction to a popular vaccine against cervical cancer.

Oral contraceptive equal to antibiotics for acne care

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—At six months, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are comparable to systemic antibiotics for acne management, according to a review published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Ac ...

Photodynamic therapy vs. cryotherapy for actinic keratoses

12 hours ago

Photodynamic therapy (PDT, which uses topical agents and light to kill tissue) appears to better clear actinic keratoses (AKs, a common skin lesion caused by sun damage) at three months after treatment than cryotherapy (which ...

User comments