Twenty-one people have been killed by a ‘mysterious disease’ in Afghanistan, local media has claimed.
Cases have all been logged in the mountainous Wakhan region in the north-east of the country, which borders Tajikistan and Pakistan.
Health chiefs have now been dispatched to the area to investigate the nature of the illness.
The cases have all been reported in the mountainous Wakhan district, 230 miles northeast of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul
Health officials have raised concerns that the ‘mysterious’ respiratory disease shares similarities with Covid-19
Details on what the actual illness is are scarce.
But the Afghanistan Times reported that officials described it as being ‘very similar’ to Covid.
Covid itself, a type of coronavirus, was behind a mysterious outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan three years ago.
The first deaths occurred a fortnight ago, the Afghanistan Times claimed.
Kyrgyzstan, which doesn’t border Afghanistan, has dispatched a representative to the region amid fears that it could spread further.
Wakhan is a sparsely-populated, narrow strip of territory which includes the Pamir Mountains.
Afghanistan has recently been hit by outbreaks of Cholera and Polio.
British health chiefs are also monitoring cases of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, a viral disease mainly transmitted by ticks, which can prove fatal for up to 40 per cent of cases.
Wakhan is a sparsely-populated, narrow strip of territory which includes the Pamir Mountains. Pictured above, cereal fields in the Wakhan valley
It comes as the Taliban-controlled Bakhtar News Agency last week reported that at least 50 children have died due to respiratory diseases in just a month in the Baghlan province, northern Afghanistan.
According to the the agency, Baghlan Hospital officials confirmed that 1,000 children had been infected with respiratory diseases in the province over the last month.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which supports 33 hospitals across Afghanistan, also revealed in November that it had seen the number of children treated for pneumonia surge over 50 per cent in 2022, compared to the same time in the previous year.
Data shared with The Independent earlier this month by the ICRC, also showed that pneumonia cases in the country jumped by 35 per cent in a year to 213,049 in 2022.
What is the ‘mysterious disease’?
What do we know about the outbreak?
Health officials yesterday confirmed 21 people have died after contracting the ‘mysterious’ respiratory disease.
All of the victims lived in the mountainous Wakhan region in northeastern Afghanistan.
What is the disease?
Experts are baffled by the outbreak and do not yet know what virus is causing people to become unwell.
According to news agency AT News, the disease is respiratory and ‘similar to Covid’.
Is it spreading?
A team of health experts have been sent to to investigate the nature of the illness amid fears it could be spreading.
The Kyrgyzstan foreign ministry also announced earlier this month that a representative of Kyrgyz Embassy in Kabul had been dispatched to the region.