Thursday, February 14, 2008

Disfiguring and potentially fatal skin disease strikes Iraqi children

The Associated Press
Published: February 14, 2008

More than 200 children in southern Iraq have been infected with a disfiguring skin disease in an outbreak that some health officials are blaming on the war's devastating effect on the nation's public health system.

According to local officials in Iraq's southern province of Qadissiyah, who reported the outbreak to the United Nations, about 275 children have been struck with leishmaniasis, a disfiguring disease spread by sandflies.

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

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