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

Aid group: No need to isolate staff treating Ebola

2 minutes ago

Doctors Without Borders insisted Friday, after one of its doctors who worked in Guinea came down with Ebola in New York, that quarantines of health workers returning from the hot zone are not necessary when ...

New York on alert over first Ebola case

11 minutes ago

New York went on alert Friday as authorities sought to calm fears among the city's 8.4 million residents after a doctor tested positive for Ebola.

Volunteer guidelines for clinicians in the Ebola epidemic

53 minutes ago

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness Journal has released a novel, informative article that speaks to volunteers within the Ebola epidemic. The article, contributed by a consortium of Boston-based hospitals, is ent ...

US lawmaker: New case raises questions on Ebola

1 hour ago

The new case of Ebola diagnosed in New York City has raised "even more questions about procedures in treating patients and risks to Americans," a Republican committee chairman said Friday.

User comments