First Syria, now Iraq-polio is spreading through these war-torn countries, and the challenges to get the spread under control are great.
The three-year long civil war in Syria, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives, has come to affect the infants and children of the region in a new way. From the start, bombs and chemical weapons brutally harmed many kids as well as adults, but now young ones are at risk from something new: the spread of infectious diseases.
With the war-related deterioration of the government’s ability to provide even rudimentary services, the vaccination of infants can no longer reliably be performed. Thus, starting last summer, cases of measles and-most disturbingly-polio among unvaccinated children were identified in Syria.
Now, a case of polio has been diagnosed in Iraq and many others are certain to follow. The UN has labeled this the greatest polio-related challenge in history-an observation that’s hard to argue with, even using the WHO’s possibly (very) watered down numbers.
The new polio threat is a major and predictable consequence of war, just like shrapnel injuries and broken families. The disease will not spread outside war-torn or impoverished areas and into suburbs in the United States-our governmental and societal will, though so often ridiculed, is far too strong to allow such a calamity. We are protected here because our government actually is effective.
Read more at the Daily Beast.