As the American media continues to inexplicably divert its attention from the conflicts and disease ravaging through several countries in Africa in favor of the ongoing violence in Syria and Iraq, a similar situation to that which characterizes Western Africa has re-emerged in the more remote regions of Afghanistan: an outbreak of an infectious and deadly disease.

In the 21st century, the world has reached a level of interdependence and connectivity that far outdistances any in human history. The capacity for human beings to travel to areas lacking basic medical care has increased exponentially in the last 100 years. With this flattened world structure comes a heightened risk of spreading disease at epidemic rates.

Throughout the summer months of 2014, health and aid workers in Afghanistan once again began sounding the alarm about a rising threat of polio infection in Eastern Afghanistan. Kunar and Khost Provinces, specifically, have experienced a rise in the rate of infection and a staggering escalation of violence targeting health workers who labor to eradicate the disease.

The rise in polio infections was noted in the summer of 2012 when cultural aversion, insurgent intimidation, and fundamentalist religious beliefs conflated in Shigal District, Kunar province to present a difficult work environment for prospective medical vaccination teams:

More than 10,000 children in Afghanistan’s Kunar province have missed out on polio vaccinations because both insurgents and local radio stations have campaigned against the programme, health officials say.

Three people have contracted polio this year, and 10,250 children have not received the vaccine in the Sarkano, Khas Kunar, Marawara, Shigal, Nari and Watapur districts, according to the head of the provincial public health department.

Two FM radio stations are warning residents not to vaccinate their children, while some refugees returning from Pakistan are spreading the same message, officials said.

Residents claim they are being warned that the inoculations are “haram”, or forbidden by Islam, and that the vaccine may cause disease.