Polio endemic: Afghanistan records the year’s first case of polio in Nangarhar province

Afghanistan has recorded the year 2023’s first case of polio in the eastern Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province where a four-year-old has been reportedly diagnosed with the wild poliovirus, health officials in the province said Saturday.

One source, on condition of anonymity, told KabulNow that the child was tested in a lab in Pakistan.

The emergence of a new case in Nangarhar is worrying health officials.

In 2022, two cases of polio were recorded in Kunar and Paktia provinces, the lowest level in the country. In 2020, at least 56 cases were reported due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting immunization services across Afghanistan.

According to Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is led by World Health Organization, polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan and both countries remain at high risk due to conflicts and weak public and immunization services. Cross-border transmission also remains inevitable in both countries with 1.5 million children crossing the frontier every year.