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Public Health Emergency Looming As Crisis In Syria Continues, Researchers Warn

Noting “[t]he death toll in Syria’s ongoing civil war may now be as high as 100,000,” NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” examines how, “[a]s the violence mounts, another emergency is looming: a public health crisis across the region.” The news service highlights an article published last week by The Lancet, which concludes “Syria’s health care system is near collapse,” as “[o]utbreaks of disease are on the rise in the country, and refugees sheltered beyond the border are also at great risk.” According to NPR, “Seventy percent of Syria’s medical professionals have fled the country,” and “[p]ublic health researchers Dr. Adam Coutts and Dr. Fouad Fouad say there has been a dramatic rise in communicable disease.” The news service notes “there were 7,000 cases of measles in northern Syria in the past few months after a vaccination program was disrupted by war, and the list is growing to include TB, leishmaniasis, typhoid and cholera, which will come up during the summer months.” In addition, “[d]isease moves easily across boundaries along with the refugees,” and “[s]crambling to care for one of the world’s largest refugee populations is another burden of the Syrian war,” the news service writes (Amos, 6/29).