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Graphic Pics: Migrants Fleeing Islamic State Risk Bringing Deadly Flesh Eating Disease To Europe

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A flesh-eating tropical disease is ravaging the war-torn Middle East, after Islamic State destruction created the ideal breeding conditions.

The parasitic disease called Cutaneous leishmaniasis is caused by bites from tiny infected sand flies which thriving in the squalid conditions left in the wake of Islamic State terror and conflict.

Thousands of cases have now been reported. Previous, it was contained in Syria but has spread to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan after more than four million Syrians fled there.

With the same migrants now heading on to Europe in their millions, it could be just a matter of times before it reaches the West.

405087 03: A Man Suffering From Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, A Disfiguring And Disabling Skin Disease, Lies In A Hospital Bed After Receiving An Injection May 8, 2002 In Kabul, Afghanistan. Leishmaniasis Is Caused By A Parasite Transmitted By The Sandfly. The Disease Has Affected Approximately 100,000 People In The Capital City This Year. The Disease, Which Begins With A Lesion On The Area That Has Been Bitten, Is Linked To Poor Social Conditions, Especially Lack Of Hygiene And Poor Removal Of Waste Material. Some Estimates Say That Fifty Percent Of Afghans Suffer From The Disease. (Photo By Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Getty Images)

(Photo By Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Getty Images)

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - MAY 15: Afghans receive treatment for a tropical skin disease at a clinic on May 15, 2010 south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan capital, Kabul, has one of the highest concentrations of the disfiguring skin disease, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is a parasitic disease transmitted by the phlebotomine sand fly. The World Health Organization estimated the number of cases in Kabul jumped from 17,000 in early 2000 to around 65,000 in 2009; the disease is non-lifethreatening and treatable with medication. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

(Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

The disease can kill if left untreated, and creates open sores on the skin, nosebleeds and difficulties breathing and swallowing. Survivors are often left with horrific scars.

A lack of medical facilities and doctors, coupled with serious water shortages, in the war-torn Middles East have allowed to condition to take hold, and spread.

The Kurdish Red Crescent had previously claimed that rotting corpses dumped on the streets by Islamic State fighters were contributing to the spread of the disease. Scientists at the School of Tropical Medicine have disputed this claim.

The number of cases has shot up from just six in 2012, to thousands just a year later. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the disease has recently begun to flourish in Syria’s neighbouring countries.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - MAY 15: An Afghan recieves treatment for a tropical skin disease at a clinic on May 15, 2010 south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan capital, Kabul, has one of the highest concentrations of the disfiguring skin disease, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is a parasitic disease transmitted by the phlebotomine sand fly. The World Health Organization estimated the number of cases in Kabul jumped from 17,000 in early 2000 to around 65,000 in 2009; the disease is non-lifethreatening and treatable with medication. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

(Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

Dr Waleed Al-Salem, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told MailOnline:

“It’s a very bad situation. The disease has spread dramatically in Syria, but also into countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and even into southern Europe with refugees coming in.

“There are thousands of cases in the region but it is still underestimated because no one can count the exact number of people affected.

“When people are bitten by sand flies – which are tiny and smaller than a mosquito – it can take anything between two to six months to have the infection.

“Someone might have picked it up in Syria but then they may have fled into Lebanon or Turkey, or even into Europe as they seek refuge.

“Prior to the outbreak of war there was good control of diseases, parasites and sand flies but when the conflict started no one cared, conditions worsened and the health system broke down, which has created an ideal environment for disease outbreaks.”

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - MAY 15: Afghans receive treatment for a tropical skin disease at a clinic on May 15, 2010 south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan capital, Kabul, has one of the highest concentrations of the disfiguring skin disease, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is a parasitic disease transmitted by the phlebotomine sand fly. The World Health Organization estimated the number of cases in Kabul jumped from 17,000 in early 2000 to around 65,000 in 2009; the disease is non-lifethreatening and treatable with medication. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

(Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

Peter Hotez, dean of the US National School of Tropical Medicine, added:

“We need to ring fence them or risk another situation like Ebola out of the conflict zones in West Africa in 2014.

“We are only getting glimpses of the situation from refugees fleeing the conflict zones and going to camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.”

Doctors at the World Health Organisation categorise the disease as ‘neglected’, claiming that improved conditions at refugee camps and early treatment attempts would go some way to halting its spread.

Breitbart London reported last month on another contagious disease that has already reached Europe, after a former luxury hotel-turned migrant accommodation was subject to an “epidemic alert”. An outbreak of louse-borne relapsing fever, an illness that can be fatal in 30 to 70 per cent of cases and had been previous eradicated in Europe was detected, triggering a deployment of safety measures including the sterilisation of the premises and it being placed into quarantine.

At least one migrant was placed into intensive care.

405087 04: Children Suffering From Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, A Disfiguring And Disabling Skin Disease, Wait For Treatment At A Hospital May 8, 2002 In Kabul, Afghanistan. Leishmaniasis Is Caused By A Parasite Transmitted By The Sandfly. The Disease Has Affected Approximately 100,000 People In The Capital City This Year. The Disease, Which Begins With A Lesion On The Area That Has Been Bitten, Is Linked To Poor Social Conditions, Especially Lack Of Hygiene And Poor Removal Of Waste Material. The Disease Causes Social Stigmatization, Especially For Girls. A Girl Whose Face Is Scarred May Not Be Considered A Prime Choice For Marriage, Limiting Her Chances For The Future. (Photo By Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Getty Images)

(Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Getty Images)

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - MAY 15: Afghans receive treatment for a tropical skin disease at a clinic on May 15, 2010 south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan capital, Kabul, has one of the highest concentrations of the disfiguring skin disease, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is a parasitic disease transmitted by the phlebotomine sand fly. The World Health Organization estimated the number of cases in Kabul jumped from 17,000 in early 2000 to around 65,000 in 2009; the disease is non-lifethreatening and treatable with medication. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

(Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)


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