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Polio confirmed in Kabul, Pentecostal church linked to Cameroon outbreak?

Afghanistan is one of the three remaining polio endemic countries on the planet, Pakistan and Nigeria being the other two, and the country has made great strides towards eradication reporting only 14 cases in 2013.

Kabul reports first polio case in 12 years
Kabul reports first polio case in 12 years
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

However, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) reported Feb.12 of a case of the paralyzing virus in Kabul for the first time since 2002. This is the second polio case confirmed in Afghanistan this year.

Like all the cases from 2013 in Afghanistan, the Kabul case is linked to transmission in neighboring Pakistan.

The case prompted a polio vaccination response in the city and also serve as a reminder that the virus remains a risk to children throughout the country.

In the West Central African country of Cameroon, they did not report a polio case since 2009, until last year's outbreak of four cases.

At least one author writes that doctrine from the ever expanding Pentecostal Church in the country may be the reason for the outbreak.

Ntaryike Divine Jr. writes on the website, Think Africa Press, Wednesday that the Cameroon Ministry of Health is pointing fingers right at Pentecostal preachers teach that healing is a sign of the presence of God and that followers should therefore refrain from taking medicine, including polio vaccines.

Although most Pentecostals see no contradiction in taking prescribed medicine and trusting God for divine healing at the same time, a small number of Pentecostals teach their members to rely solely on faith for healing, according to a piece on the site, Opposing Views.

Mr. Divine also writes that it's not just Pentecostal dogma keeping people from getting immunized, also the suspicion towards vaccines amongst certain Muslim communities.

The GPEI says the most recent case in Cameroon, an individual from Ouest, had onset of paralysis on 30 October 2013.

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