Afghanistan Hits Ominous New Polio Milestone
Capital sees first case since fall of Taliban
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2014 12:16 AM CST
An Afghan child is vaccinated against polio during a polio eradication campaign in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – Health workers in Afghanistan are on high alert after a girl was diagnosed with polio in Kabul—the first case the capital has seen since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. An urgent vaccination campaign has been launched in the city, especially in the desperately poor community of former nomads where the 3-year-old girl lives, the BBC reports.

The girl's father is a taxi driver who regularly travels to Pakistan, one of the only other countries in the world where polio is still endemic. Islamic militants there and in Nigeria have killed health workers carrying out vaccination campaigns, but in Afghanistan, the Taliban have changed their policy in recent years and allowed vaccinations to take place. Outside Kabul, polio cases in Afghanistan have dropped from 80 in 2011 to just 13 confirmed cases last year.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Feb 11, 2014 10:34 AM CST
Polio is as contagious as hell. And often lethal. When not lethal--crippling! We do not want that creeping to the States in a cargo plane's bay.
Jon Q. Publix
Feb 11, 2014 7:56 AM CST
Why vaccinate? Why not just pray the polio away? Because science works and religion doesn't. As obvious as it may seem, there are still lots of people in Afghanistan and in the USA who don't quite get this. Too bad we can't develop a vaccine for superstition and ignorance.
Feb 11, 2014 12:32 AM CST
the children MUST be strong enough to have 70 pounds of c-4 strapped to them