Polio in Kabul: The Polio Hydra in Pakistan Strikes Again

The news that a polio case has occurred in Kabul is another setback for the eradication program. While Afghanistan has cases of polio annually--14 last year--none have occurred in Kabul since 2001. Almost all cases from 2013 were linked to Pakistan. Similarly, in this case, members of the patient's family reportedly travelled to the polio-endemic nation of Pakistan where the virus was contracted. 

To date this year, 2 cases of polio have occurred in Afghanistan while 7 have occurred in Pakistan. No other nations have reported cases. 

A case in the highly populated capital city is concerning because of the potential for the virus to spread and spark further cases. Accordingly, an immunization campaign in Kabul has been launched. 

This case illustrates the fact that Pakistan, an area rife with murderous violence against polio vaccinators, is the head of the hydra that must be severed to control this disease.