Foreign Policy Examines Challenges To Fighting Leishmaniasis In Syria

Foreign Policy examines the spread of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a parasitic infection that “is carried by sand flies and causes painful lesions that can become secondarily infected, often resulting in disfigurement,” throughout war-torn Syria and neighboring countries. “According to the WHO, which has set up an early-warning system to monitor the disease in all 14 of Syria’s governorates, 1,047 cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis” — also known as the “Aleppo evil” or the “Aleppo boil” – “were reported between April 14 and May 18 of this year,” the magazine writes, adding, “The majority of those cases occurred in Aleppo, where the disease was endemic prior to the crisis, but an increasing number have cropped up among internally displaced people in Syria’s Tartus governorate, where the disease was previously unreported.” In addition, “[t]housands of additional cases have been reported in bordering countries in the last year,” Foreign Policy states. The magazine notes challenges to collecting data on the disease due to “movement of Syrians inside the country and within neighboring countries” and highlights challenges to treatment and prevention efforts, such as interrupted insecticide spraying campaigns, deteriorating sanitation conditions, and drug shortages (Banco, 6/19).