Afghanistan: Third polio case reported in Nangarhar

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Health authorities reported a poliovirus case in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Thursday, making it the third case of the viral disease in the country so far this year.

Doctors said that a 2.5 years old child has tested positive for poliovirus in Nazian district in Nangarhar.

Two other cases of the virus were also reported in Nangarhar this month in Bati Kot and Kot districts of Nangarhar.

Local residents in Bati Kot district in Nangarhar said that a five-year-old child died of poliovirus in their village this month. But doctors have not officially confirmed the matter.

On May 15t the polio vaccination campaign was kicked off in 23 provinces of the country in which at least 6.4 million children under five years old will be vaccinated against polio, Taliban authorities from the Ministry of Public Health said on Monday.

This was the second round of the polio vaccination campaign in the country. The first round was conducted in January, covering over 5.5 million children.

According to the Ministry of Health, two polio patients were confirmed in 2022, four in 2021, and 56 in 2020.

As of March 2023, over 500,000 people were served in health facilities and hospitals supported by WHO in Afghanistan.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on March 22, 2023, polio continued to be an international concern and issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory.

Before traveling to any destination listed, the CDC has recommended that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of a polio vaccine.

The head of the World Health Organization on Monday, May 22, said that polio remains the only official global health emergency and that last year there was an increase in the disease after “an all-time” low of only five cases worldwide in 2021.

Addressing the WHO’s annual health assembly in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been 20 cases in Pakistan, two in Afghanistan and eight in Mozambique. For this year, there have been three reported cases of polio – one in Pakistan, and two in Afghanistan. These cases were reported “just last week”, he said.