Two fresh polio cases had been detected in Afghanistan’s southern Uruzgan province, the Ministry of Public Health said on Monday.
“With these two new cases, the total number of polio cases in 2019 reaches 15 in the country, all of which were reported from inaccessible areas.
“Fourteen of the 15 polio cases have been reported from the south,” the ministry said in a statement.
Poliovirus could be rapidly transferred and the only preventable way was vaccination, the statement said.
“Access to health services is the right of every citizen of the country,” Health Minister, Ferozuddin Feroz, was quoted as saying.
The ongoing conflicts have been hindering the efforts to stamp out the infectious disease in the mountainous country.
Poliomyelitis, also known as polio, is a highly infectious viral disease transmitted through the fecal-oral route, contaminated water or food.
It mainly affects young children and once infected, the virus multiplies in the intestine, affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
Globally, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria are the remaining countries yet to be declared free from polio.
Although, Nigeria on Wednesday declared three years without the detection of the viral polio disease, with local officials saying the country is set to record a historic milestone of being certified polio-free.
The virus was last detected in the country’s northeastern state of Borno in August 2016.
As a result, Nigerian health authorities said a certification process had commenced ahead of declaring a polio-free country by March 2020, if the situation remains the same.