Afghanistan

Status: has never stopped indigenous wild poliovirus (WPV) circulation

Afghanistan is one of only three countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission, alongside Nigeria and Pakistan. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is focusing on reaching every last child in Afghanistan with vaccines, strengthening surveillance and maintaining political commitment, financial resources and technical support at all levels.

Polio this week in Afghanistan

  • No new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases were reported in the past week.  The total number of cases for 2017 remains three, and for 2016 remains 13.  The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 21 February, from Kunduz province.
  • One new environmental sample positive for WPV1 was reported in the past week in Lashkargah district, Hilmand province, with date of collection on 26 April.
  • With most of Afghanistan polio-free, efforts are focused on continuing to strengthen operations, in close coordination with Pakistan, to address remaining low-level transmission in the common reservoir area of the Quetta-Kandahar corridor.

Stopping Polio in Afghanistan

To ensure more children than ever before are reached with the polio vaccine, the campaigns in Afghanistan in 2016 must be the highest-quality in the programmes history. The focus is on reaching every child with vaccines, particularly those who have been persistently missed. Afghanistan and Pakistan must work together to stop the virus for good.

Afghanistan’s programme is evolving to better reach children with vaccines in the midst of a shifting security landscape. Cross border teams, permanent transit teams and special nomadic teams are helping reach children on the move. The Emergency Operations Centres are working under a National Emergency Action Plan to ensure that chronically missed children are consistently reached now and in the future.

Much of the country remains polio-free, despite the deteriorating security situation throughout the country, particularly in the east and north east. These gains, however are fragile.

International Health Regulations

Afghanistan is classified by the International Health Regulations (IHR) as a state infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3 with potential risk of international spread. It is therefore subject to temporary recommendations as of April 2017.

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Key at-risk: no longer poliovirus-infected, but at high risk of outbreaks
Outbreak: has stopped indigenous WPV circulation but affected by outbreak of imported WPV or circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus
Endemic: has never stopped indigenous wild poliovirus (WPV) circulation

Travel advice

WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travellers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Residents (and visitors for more than 4 weeks) from infected areas should receive an additional dose of OPV or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) within 4 weeks to 12 months of travel.

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