A disfiguring tropical disease that had been contained to Syria has now spread across the Middle East as millions are displaced from the war-torn region. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by bites from infected sand flies. It can lead to severe scarring, often on the face, and regularly goes undiagnosed and untreated. The disease had been contained to Syria, particularly to regions under ISIS control such as Raqqa, Deir al-Zour and Hasakah.
The civil war has devastated the country’s medical facilities, seen thousands of health workers killed and hospitals destroyed. Along with the chronic lack of water and bombed out buildings, this created a ripe breeding ground for the sand flies and allowed the disease to thrive. READ MORE