Hundreds of thousands in Middle East disfigured by flesh-eating bug


Cutaneous leishmaniasisA disfiguring tropical disease is sweeping across the Middle East as a combination of heavy conflict and a breakdown of health care facilities in Isis-occupied areas leaves swathes of people vulnerable to the illness.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is caused by a parasite in the blood stream transmitted through sand fly bites. The disease can result in horrible open sores as well as disfiguring skin lesions, nodules or papules.

Leishmaniasis has been endemic in Syria for centuries and was once commonly known as the “Aleppo evil”. However, as Syria’s civil war continues the resulting refugee crisis has triggered a catastrophic outbreak of the disease.

Research published on Thursday in the scientific journal PLOS has found the disease is now affecting hundreds of thousands of people living in refugee camps or trapped in conflict zones. A similar situation may also be unfolding in eastern Libya and Yemen.

“We’re seeing lots of diseases, including leishmaniasis in these conflict zones and we need to ring-fence them or risk another situation like Ebola out of the conflict zones in West Africa in 2014,” Peter Hotez, dean of the US National School of Tropical Medicine, US Science Envoy to the Middle East, and lead author of the PLOS research told the Digital Journal.

Syria’s healthcare system has been devastated by years of conflict.In 2015 it was reported that more than half of the public hospitals in the country – previously a regional leader in healthcare – were closed or only partially functioning, leaving some patients forced to travel up to 100 miles to the nearest hospital.

In Syria, the number of leishmaniasis cases reported to the Ministry of Health doubled from 23,000 before the start of the civil war in 2011 to 41,000 in 2013, according to the PLOS research.

Neighbouring countries, which have received millions of refugees are also reporting many leishmaniasis cases. In Lebanon, cases rose to 1,033 in 2013 from six in the previous 12 years. Hundreds of cases have also been reported in Turkey and Jordan.




4 responses to “Hundreds of thousands in Middle East disfigured by flesh-eating bug”

  1. Meditheraces Avatar

    Why is Fallujah depleted uranium silenced in western media since 10 years?
    Now the excuse is that this disease existed for hundred of years..hum.. but not in UAE.
    Wonder who master’s the modern techniques for biological warfare.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      AS Evidenced (by the friends I know), there are more diseases of skin and blood than they can shake a stick at, SINCE DIET IS A HUGE FACTOR in keeping an immune system functioning … slow starvation of those in Lebanon forced out of work and blown out of their houses brings some very strange things after several years of the same … ALONG WITH the winds of last summer which dumped a pile of ‘bloodied dirt’ from Iraq and Syria over the mountains and into Lebanon for a week during the ‘You Stink’ demonstrations. They can call it a ‘Sand Storm’ if they like … BUT what’s riding on those grains of sand?
      LACK OF PROPER NOURISHMENT AND HUGE STRESS FACTORS … and many suffer that for sure.
      Radiation may also be a factor … who knows?? Who TESTS for it??
      At this point it’s probably a ‘least’ factor.

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar
        Hind Abyad

        Soo Sad, when are they going to deport those Rat dirt Jihadist who carried germs from 85 different countries into the “Fertile Crescent”?

  2. OneWoman Avatar

    Ever-worsening outbreaks of this disease have been reported in Syria since before Daesh existed. The Assad regime has systematically targeted hospitals and medical personnel, and continues to do so, as well as cutting off water supplies to millions across the country, as Ya Libnan is surely well aware. Rewriting reality doesn’t make the truth disappear.

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