Leishmaniasis epidemic in Shehba

In the northern Syrian canton of Shehba, 2,000 people have been infected with the infectious disease leishmaniasis. The region now urgently needs international assistance to ensure adequate medical care.

Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease occurring worldwide in humans and animals, caused by single-celled parasites and transmitted by sandflies. In addition to different clinical symptoms, the causative agent causes especially long-term skin ulcers.

The geographic range of leishmaniasis are the tropics, especially Peru, Colombia and eastern Africa, but also the Mediterranean and Asia. The disease, which has been known since antiquity as the "Aleppo Bump" or "Oriental Bump", is also increasingly found in the Middle East, especially in Syria. Due to inadequate medical care, leishmaniasis has increased dramatically during the civil war in Syria. Tens of thousands of people suffer from the infection, explains the Hamburg Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Northern Syria needs international help

In the northern Syrian canton of Shehba, where hundreds of thousands of people took refuge after the Turkish military invasion of Afrin, the number of people infected with the infectious disease leishmaniasis is now estimated at 2,000. The Kurdish Red Crescent Heyva Sor a Kurd therefore appeals to an international aid organization to ensure adequate medical treatment for the patients.

New infections in hot summer months

According to the Kurdish organization, 1060 cases of leishmaniasis are known in Fafin district and neighboring villages. In the Berxwedan camp around 100 people have been infected, another 45 in the Serdem Camp. 270 people are affected in Hilêsa commune and nearby settlements and hamlets, in Til Seyîr 410 and 15 cases have been reported from Shêrawa, a district of the Afrin Canton, which is not fully occupied by Turkey.

Nesrin Hisên of Heyva Sor a Kurd points out that the number of new infections in the hot summer months will increase significantly. The region is therefore urgently reliant on the help from abroad, to avoid worse.