Saturday, February 16, 2008

Skin Disease Strikes Iraqi Children

LONDON — At least 275 children in southern Iraq have been infected with a disfiguring skin disease, an outbreak some health officials are blaming on the war's devastating effect on the public health system.

According to the United Nations — citing reports from Iraq's southern province of Qadissiyah — 275 children have been struck with leishmaniasis, which is spread by sand flies. Most have a form that causes skin sores, but others have a type that strikes internal organs and can be fatal.

"This is a killer disease and we are trying to stop its spread," said Dr. Omer Mekki, an epidemiologist at the World Health Organization's Iraq office.

Two types of leishmaniasis have been found in southern Iraq, according to Mekki: 212 cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis, also known as Baghdad boil disease, and 63 cases of visceral leishmaniasis, or kala azar, Hindi for black fever.

----- In 1991 it was thought leishmaniasis was high in Saddam's troops.

"Leishmaniasis is endemic in 88 countries on 4 continents. More than 90% of cutaneous leishmaniasis cases occur in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Peru. More than 90% of visceral leishmaniasis cases occur in Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Sudan."

It's another disease of poverty and most outbreaks are in India and Brazil. It's been on the rise in Central and South America, due to road building, mining, and oil exploration and the shanty towns that spring up next to the same activity. Leishmaniasis has also been found in Texas. Six years ago the German drug company Zentaris developed Impavido and tested in India with a 95 percent success rate there.

KAB headline: Simpleton Disease Strikes Americans of All Ages.

It's this type of story and the way it's presented that irritates me. Hundreds if not thousands on the "left" post the story, gnash a few teeth about how awful - it's capitalist neocon bushers genocide, waaa waaa waaa.

While "left" bloggers want to believe this "outbreak" is due to the current war's effect on the public health care system, more likely it's no worse than before - none give any stats on the disease during Saddam.

Yes, those big-hearted folks feel the pain of 275 Iraqi children effected by BushCo - having conveniently done nothing and now forgotten the 500,000 dead children from the "devastating effect" on Iraqi healthcare under the Billy Clinton regime. Don't forget your bumper sticker at the door - No One Died When Clinton Lied.

(And please send billions more to WHO, UN, pharmaceutical companies, missionaries, etc. to bravely continue the war on flies and mosquitoes.)

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