SYRIA: New polio outbreaks spark alarm on top of the horrors of flesh-eating bacteria. How long before they make an appearance in the U.S.?

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The new fiscal year will permit Barack Obama to provide for a significant number of Syrian refugees within the 70,000 total allotted to the U.S. refugee program. Susan Rice, Obama’s new national security advisor, and Samantha Power, his U.S. ambassador to the U.N., both are strong advocates for acceptance of thousands of Syrian refugees into the U.S.

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Homeland security officials require careful vetting of refugees, with multiple interviews and background checks before they are allowed to enter the country. Under normal circumstances, the screening process can take a year or longer. As Islamic militants take a more prominent role in the rebel forces, officials worry about fighters with Al Qaeda ties trying to enter the country. Two resettled Iraqis were convicted of trying to send arms to Al Qaeda from their home in Bowling Green, Ky.

UK Telegraph  (h/t Frederic F) The World Health Organisation has recorded the first suspected outbreak of polio for 14 years in Syria, sparking renewed alarm at the collapse of health care caused by the country’s civil war. 

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Doctors in Syria are also seeing a flare-up of typhoid, hepatitis, and the flesh-eating parasite, leishmaniasis, blamed partly on the inability to administer a proper vaccination programme and partly on poor living conditions and a much-reduced access to health care.

In recent months the WHO has set up an “Early Warning and Response System” designed to identify possible outbreaks of dangerous diseases within Syria, said Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman. “We have 291 public health providers in government and opposition-held areas reporting suspected diseased that we then investigate. This network has detected hepatitis A, leishmaniasis, typhoid and measles.”

Sandfly

In war-riven Aleppo, the summer heat combined with streets filled with putrid, uncollected rubbish, allowed leishmaniasis to thrive. Doctors recorded tens of thousand of cases of the tropical disease, transmitted by sand flies, that causes skin ulcers resembling leprosy.

“We have 291 public health providers in government and opposition-held areas reporting suspected diseased that we then investigate. This network has detected hepatitis A, leishmaniasis, typhoid and measles.”

In war-riven Aleppo, the summer heat combined with streets filled with putrid, uncollected rubbish, allowed leishmaniasis to thrive. Doctors recorded tens of thousand of cases of the tropical disease, transmitted by sand flies, that causes skin ulcers resembling leprosy.

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The mass exodus of Syrian civilians fleeing the war is also increasing the risk of conveying diseases that had mostly been eradicated through vaccination back to neighbouring countries.

Alla Karpenko, a communications officer with Medicins Sans Frontieres, said the organisation had recorded cases of leishmaniasis, usually endemic to Syria, whilst working in Lebanon.

The mass exodus of Syrian civilians fleeing the war is also increasing the risk of conveying diseases that had mostly been eradicated through vaccination back to neighbouring countries. Alla Karpenko, a communications officer with Medicins Sans Frontieres, said the organisation had recorded cases of leishmaniasis, usually endemic to Syria, whilst working in Lebanon.

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