New Polio-Virus Cases Reported In Three Provinces Of Afghanistan After Five Years

The three provinces – Balkh, Herat and Badakhshan had not reported a single case of polio in the last five years.

Jessica David

June 15, 2020

Coronavirus

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Polio has reemerged in three Afghanistan provinces that were previously declared free of the life-threatening disease. Immunisation programmes in Afghanistan have been paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak and this has led to a resurgence of polio-virus in some parts of the country. The three provinces – Balkh, Herat and Badakhshan had not reported a single case of polio in the last five years. But now, the three provinces have reported a single case each. Here, the immunisation drives had successfully limited the virus to the country’s south and south-east region.

But, this new development threatens to reverse those hard-earned gains. On average, 10 immunisation drives are carried out in Afghanistan every year. There have only been two such programmes in 2020. The UNICEF said, last month, that polio immunisation drives have been suspended in dozens of countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been 14 cases of polio in 2020, compared to 26 cases last year. None of the cases from last year was reported in polio-free zones.

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