The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that there have been ten confirmed cases of children with polio in Syria. Health officials are currently trying to spread the word and warn of the significant risk of the highly infectious disease spreading now that there are confirmed cases. On top of the ten confirmed cases there are 12 children suffering from paralysis associated with polio that are awaiting test results. That means that that thousands more are likely to be infected because just 1 in 200 of those who contract the disease actually show symptoms. The two and half year long conflict in Syria has created optimal conditions for the spread of communicable diseases which are therefore devastating the countries health care system. Health workers are warning that the unsanitary conditions that millions for Syrians are living in are breeding grounds for diseases, such as polio, which are transmitted through contaminated food and water supply. The even larger issue arises when there are as many as 4,000 refugees fleeing the country every day the risk of spreading the disease becomes very serious. “This isn’t a Syria problem; this is a Middle Eastern problem, which is going to require a massive multi-country response”. The response to this problem is already underway. Seven countries in the region including Syria have launched emergency programs to vaccinate 20 million children over the next two months, with follow up rounds in the most at risk areas. These cases that have been confirmed in Syria are the first cases they have had in the past 14 years.
The polio outbreak in Syria is becoming an extremely serious problem. This is adding to the massive amounts of destruction that Syria is already facing. Thankfully, they have already put a plan into action to try and stop this outbreak as soon as possible. Syria is only seems to be getting worse and worse as time goes on. Even doctors are fleeing the country due to lack of supplies. It is so crucial for not only Syria but also Middle Eastern countries to take this polio outbreak serious and try to vaccinate as many children as they can as soon as possible. Syria has a long way to go before they will ever be able to get back to any form of “normalcy”. There is still so much to be done in order to help restore Syria as a country and help restore the physical, mental, and emotional health and lives of the Syrian people.