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

  • One new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case has been confirmed, received from Batikot district in Nangarhar province. Paralysis onset was on the 15 September 2017. This raises the total number of WPV1 cases in 2017 to seven in Afghanistan, and twelve worldwide. The case occurred in a child aged 15 months, who had received one dose of IPV previously.
  • A response vaccination campaign is currently being implemented for the new polio case, targeting about 150,000 children in five districts of the eastern region. The next sub-national immunization days are planned during the first half of November 2017.
  • Two new wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) positive environmental samples were also reported in the past week. One sample was collected on 26 September from Lashkargah district, Hilmand province, and the other on 26 September from Kandahar district, in Kandahar province.
  • Read the latest polio update from Afghanistan to see information on cases, surveillance and vaccination campaigns.

Stopping Polio in Afghanistan

To ensure more children than ever before are reached with the polio vaccine, the campaigns in Afghanistan in 2017 must be the highest-quality in the programme’s 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, with an emphasis on high-quality immunization activities and surveillance to close remaining immunity gaps and quickly find the virus wherever it is hiding.

Afghanistan’s 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. Cross border teams, permanent transit teams and special nomadic teams are helping reach children on the move.

Much of the country remains polio-free, despite the deteriorating security situation throughout the country. However, these gains are fragile, and we must continue to focus on improvements in surveillance and campaign quality to find and respond to the virus wherever it emerges and stop it for good.

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 August 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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