By David Dolan
One of the saddest, yet most predictable, features of any prolonged military conflict is an upsurge in diseases suffered by both military and civilian populations. Food shortages are another staple of intensive warfare. Therefore it came as little surprise when the United Nation's World Health Organization announced the end of last month that it can confirm medical reports from war ravaged Syria that the scourge of polio has been discovered in the Syrian population.
Outbreak Risk 'High'
Noting that tens of thousands of Syrians continue to pour out of their country every month, joining over a million others who previously became war refugees, the UN body warned that Polio is "a communicable disease, and with population movements it can travel to other areas, and so the risk is high of a spread across the region."
Officials in neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Israel were urged to prepare for the possibility that polio will spread to their territory.
The World Health Organization added that dozens of Syrian war refugees are dying every week from the effects of disease and starvation. Over 120,000 people have perished in the conflict.
- Syria Polio Outbreak: 13 Cases Confirmed as Origin of Disease Identified as Pakistan • IBTimes.co.uk
- 20 Million in Mideast to Get Polio Vaccine • New York Times
- Pakistani poliovirus spreads to five countries • The News International
- Threatwatch: Is Syria's polio a danger to Europe? • New Scientist
- How Did Pakistani Polio Enter Syria? • Commentary Magazine