The skin disease which causes open wounds, difficulty breathing, and nose bleeding, outrages in Syria, and has also spread to the Middle East after millions of people had fled from the region affected by war. Cutaneius leishmaniasis is a skin disease which is transmitted by a fly that lives in the sandy regions.
This disease can lead to permanent scars, mostly on the face. As mentioned above, it causes open wounds on the skin, difficulty breathing, nose bleeding, and difficulty swallowing.
The epidemic has spread in the parts of Syria which are controlled by ISIS, such as Rakka and Hasakah.
The war in this country has completely destroyed the medical centers and thousands of healthcare workers had been killed. This, combined with the lack of water, created the perfect conditions for the development of this disease.
According to Nature Middle East, Dr. Valid al Salem, a councilor of the Saudi Health Department, along with other scientists from Oxford, has created a map which shows the distribution of this disease and the so-called “sandflies” as well as the link between the immigrants and the disease.
The Red Cross already confirmed that the rotting bodies on the streets are the major cause for the outbreak of this disease. However, the scientists who deal with tropical diseases have reputed this theory.
The disease itself has spread to the neighboring countries as well, such as Turkey, Jordan, and Liban.
According to Daily mail, in the period between 2000 and 2012, only six cases of this disease have been reported in Liban, and by 2013 even 1033 cases. The statistics provided by the Lebanese Health Department shows that about 96% of them are Syrian refugees.
The British journal notes that there is a chance that the disease may reach Europe.
“The situation is very bad. The disease has dramatically spread to Syria. When this sandfly crawls on your body, it seems like you have been bitten by a mosquito. It takes 2-6 months for the infections to emerge. Therefore, if a person got the infection in Syria and went to Turkey two months afterwards, the infections will appear there,” – Dr. Al Salem explains.
This skin disease is among the 17 tropical diseases which are characterized by “neglected” by the World Health Organization.
According to the Health Department in Syria, the number of infected increased from 23,000 to 41,000 in 2013, and the numbers are in constant rise.
In order to fight the disease, the scientists urge quality medical conditions of the refuges settled in the camps and ask for strict medical surveillance.