Measles Epidemic Sweeps Through Northern Syria

The Syrian Civil War is having a disturbing side effect: a massive measles outbreak across the northern part of the country.

The nation’s vaccination program has disappeared since rebels began their attempts to overthrow the government. As a result, over 7,000 people have been confirmed to have measles in the last few months according to Doctors Without Borders.

By comparison, only 26 cases of measles were seen in the entire country in 2011.

DWB says that the infection spreads more rapidly in close quarters and the mass exodus due to the war has led to ideal conditions in refugee camps.

In an attempt to stop the epidemic, doctors have been conducting emergency vaccination campaigns in cities controlled by the Syrian rebels. In Aleppo, Raqa and idlib doctors have been able to vaccinate at least 75,000 children.

DWB said the lack of basic health care compounds the problem. While measles itself has a low fatality rate, it can compromise the immune system to the level opportunistic infections can take hold.

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