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article imageISIS fighters hit by deadly flesh-eating disease

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Apr 4, 2015 in Health
Hundreds of Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate, have been infected by Leishmaniasis which can become fatal if not treated with a simple course of medicine.
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a parasite and is transmitted by the bite of certain types of sand flies. Worldwide, about 2 million new cases are reported each year causing 20,000 to 50,000 deaths. The disease causes large open wounds which eat away flesh and enlarged spleen and liver.
Initial cases were reported in war-torn Syria last year and doctors from organisations like Medicines Sans Frontieres were trying to curb the outbreak, but have left the area since ISIS took control.
Local medics with little experience of treating Leishmaniasis are left to deal with patients now. It is also reported that jihadi fighters are refusing medical treatment which has led to it spreading extensively.
Dr Hotez, President of the Sabine Vaccine Institute, has termed the situation out of control.
Public health control measures stop. There are breakdowns in the water supply and sanitation, breakdowns in healthcare access and access to medicines. All of this happens at once and it is a perfect storm of events.
Recently, World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned of epidemics as Syria's health system had collapsed after years of civil war. An estimated 64% of Syrian public hospitals have been damaged, destroyed or shut down due to the continuing conflict, according to the organization, Save the Children.
The situation is further aggravated as ISIS, in its attempt to impose Shariah in the areas it has captured, has required doctors to change their practices. Doctors in Raqqa were told last month that they would be fined if they delivered babies by “unIslamic” Caesarian section.
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