Attrition: Forgotten Plagues Invade Syria

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April 8, 2014: Three years of war in Syria have left the health care system in a shambles. Over 100,000 children have been unable to receive vaccinations and polio and measles are showing up again. Polio is a particular problem because Pakistani Islamic terrorist rebels have apparently brought polio back to Syria. In 2013 there were over fifty cases of polio in Syria, after having been absent since the late 1990s. In 2013 the vaccination rate for Syrian children fell from 95 percent to under 80 percent and is expected to plunge even more in 2014.

In 2014 thousands of polio causes are expected and there have already been several outbreaks of measles, which is less deadly than polio but also largely absent from Syria for decades. In 2013 there were over 10,000 known cases. Measles, mumps and rubella hits adults as well as children because few adults received booster vaccinations after childhood. Polio can also hit adults who did not receive a booster dose of vaccine. Adults are also liable to get typhus and other rapidly spreading diseases that have not been a problem in Syria for a long time. Public health experts expect outbreaks of all these diseases in Syria in 2014 and even more in subsequent years if the fighting does not end.

 

 


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