"Cholera" is spreading rapidly in Syria... and stopping it requires "the capabilities of countries"

“Cholera” is spreading rapidly in Syria… and stopping it requires “the capabilities of countries”

Over the past few days, the number of cholera cases in Syria has jumped to “dangerous” levels, according to Syrian doctors, and while the margin was initially limited to dozens and some deaths, the numbers exceeded to reach the point of thousands, especially in the eastern regions of Syria, located along the Euphrates River basin.

On Wednesday morning, the “Health Authority” in the Kurdish Autonomous Administration held a press conference in which it revealed the latest developments in the outbreak, as its head, Doctor Juan Mustafa, said that “cholera” is spreading in four areas, explaining that there are 2876 suspected cases, in Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, Tabqa, and Hasaka.

Mustafa added that 16 people died as a result of the disease, during the past days. This statistic is distributed over Deir ez-Zor and the Jazirah region.

The head of the “Health Authority” expressed fear of an increase in the number of injuries in the coming days, as expressed by the co-chair of the Kurdish Red Crescent, Doctor Hassan Amin.

Amin told Al-Hurra: “The reasons for the increase in infections are related to the fact that the underlying cause of the disease has not gone away so far, which is the contamination of the water that citizens receive from the Euphrates River, as well as the contamination of foods and vegetables.”

The doctor adds: “The level of the Euphrates River is very low, and the swamps that were formed remain. People continue to drink from it, and through unsterilized tanks.”

Moreover, “Farmers, especially in the Jazira region, are still irrigating their crops from rivers that seep into sewage water. In Jaqjaq and parts of al-Khabur. We have not eliminated the reason, so the injuries will increase,” according to Amin.

In turn, the Syrian doctor, Rami Kelzy, points out that “the Euphrates River is the focus, and unfortunately the health sector is unable to deal with the matter,” considering that the demise of the cause of the disease “requires the capabilities of countries.”

“If the epidemic is not cut off from the main source, there will be no ability to maneuver in this regard,” Kelzy told Al-Hurra.

“College numbers”

The figures on the cholera outbreak announced by the Health Authority in the Kurdish Autonomous Administration are very similar to those revealed by the Early Warning Network on an almost daily basis.

According to statistics obtained by Al-Hurra website from the director of the vaccine program in the Early Warning Network, Doctor Muhammad Salem, the total number of cases in north and east Syria as of Tuesday reached 2,126 injuries and 11 deaths.

The infections are concentrated in areas near the Euphrates River, which the United Nations believes is the source of the epidemic, due to people drinking unsafe water from the river, and using contaminated water to irrigate crops, which led to food contamination.

As for the areas of north and northwestern Syria, which are controlled by the opposition factions, the first cases of the epidemic were recorded, on Monday, in the village of Mahmud Hajar, affiliated to the city of Jarablus, and the village from the “Euphrates”, while a second case of a 23-year-old patient was recorded in Ras al-Ain, in the countryside Al-Hasakah Governorate.

The mentioned numbers differ from the statistics reviewed by the Syrian Ministry of Health of the Syrian regime, where it announced that the cumulative total number of cholera cases confirmed by rapid testing in the country rose to 253 cases, distributed in Aleppo 180, Deir Ezzor 29, Hasaka 25, Latakia 13, Homs 4 and Damascus 2.

The total number of deaths from cholera reached 23, in Aleppo 20 due to the delay in seeking medical advice, Deir Ezzor 2 and Al-Hasakah 1, according to the ministry’s statement.

She indicated that she has begun to adopt and circulate a unified treatment protocol, which is available in all its forms, while hospitals are being strengthened and provided with an additional stock of treatment and supplies, in anticipation of any increase in the number of limited cases so far.

And the Syrian doctor, Rami Kelzy, considered that “incomplete and misleading information will greatly affect the fight against the epidemic.”

He says, “We witnessed this in the Corona pandemic. The Syrian regime did not disclose the real numbers, which led to a major error in analyzing the data, knowing the extent of the disaster and the required planning for the response.”

The doctor adds: “Incomplete and misleading information will lead to confusion among people. There will be a great lack of response, because the plan will be based on numbers that are much lower than the reality.”

‘The stakes are higher’

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization relies on the numbers published by the Syrian Ministry of Health, which was indicated by the words of the organization’s representative in Syria, Dr. Iman Al-Shanqiti, and the regional director, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, during a joint press conference for them, Wednesday.

“Syrians who survived the scourge of war are still exposed to outbreaks of deadly diseases, such as cholera, which is currently spreading in 6 governorates,” Al-Mandhari said.

Cholera has so far claimed 23 lives, while 253 others have been infected, according to the regional director, noting: “The cases of leishmaniasis are also increasing across the country.”

For her part, Al-Shanqiti said that “the dangers that Syrians face today are greater than ever.”

As part of the “World Health” steps to confront the current cholera outbreak, the doctor announced the arrival of a shipment of medicines and supplies just two days ago at Damascus Airport from the logistics center in Dubai.

These supplies, which are enough to cover 2,000 severe cases and 190,000 mild cases, will be distributed to health facilities in northeastern Syria, where the outbreak is concentrated. A second shipment is also expected to arrive later Wednesday.

Al-Shanqti added: “Our top priority at the moment is to stop the spread of this deadly disease by continuing to support rapid response teams, expanding surveillance, testing and tracing contacts, while enhancing awareness in affected and at-risk communities about ways to prevent.”

In 2008 and 2009, Syria recorded the last outbreaks of the disease in the governorates of Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa.

After an 11-year conflict, the country is witnessing a severe water crisis, with the destruction of the water and sanitation infrastructure, which prompted many citizens to rely on unsafe drinking water, especially from the Euphrates River.

The final final analyzes of samples from the river confirmed the presence of “cholera vibrio” in it, according to the head of the “Health Authority” in the Autonomous Administration, Joan Mustafa.

He says that “the continuing decrease in the water level in the river will lead to an increase in infections. It will become a focus for the spread of diseases in the region,” adding: “There are things that must happen urgently. In al-Hasakah there are a million people. This area is dangerous, and there are fears that the disease will get out of control.” “.

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