Polio has returned to Syria after a long absence, and other dangerous diseases are on the increase
The World Health Organisation has recorded the first suspected outbreak of polio for 14 years in Syria, sparking renewed alarm at the collapse of health care caused by the country’s civil war.
Doctors in Syria are also seeing a flare-up of typhoid, hepatitis, and the flesh-eating parasite, leishmaniasis, blamed partly on the inability to administer a proper vaccination programme and partly on poor living conditions and a much-reduced access to health care.
Some 22 people in the northeastern province of Deir Ezzor are now showing symptoms that are “very likely” to be polio, Oliver Rosenbawer, from the WHO Global Polio Eradication Initiative told The Telegraph.
“We still need final confirmation from a laboratory, but all the indicators show that this is polio,” said Mr Rosenbawer.
For centuries, epidemics of polio, a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis within hours, blighted countries across the globe, leaving hundreds of thousands of children and adults permanently incapacitated.