Scabies invades Iraq’s Mosul, rapidly growing health workers say

Displaced Iraqi civilians rescued at the site of battle rest at the positions of Iraqi forces at the Old City in Mosul, Iraq June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Mosul ( Iraq’s former Islamic State capital is witnessing a growing rate of scabies infections at its western region, medical workers were quoted saying as the city struggles to overcome destruction resulting from the war against the extremist group.

Moamen Shahwani, a doctor at the health department in Mosul, was quoted by Iraqi website Sky Press, saying in a press statement that western Mosul has recorded 150 scabies cases, warning that parasites causing the disease are spreading in the city.

He attributed the spread of the disease to several factors, most importantly the return of displaced families to their regions which are still scarred by the war against Daesh (Islamic State) and their wastes.

“Garbage, debris and remains of corpses are almost at every corner, moreover, there is a shortage in water, electricity and other essential services,” Shahwani said, accusing government agencies of delinquency in securing necessary vaccines.

The doctor noted that, besides registered cases, there are other unregistered ones, where infected persons seek treatment at outpatient clinics or resort to herbal medicines.

“The disease is highly dangerous and rapidly progressing, and it is difficult to contain it in a short period at an environment that lacks the simplest services,” he added.

Mosul was Islamic State’s capital and base of operations in Iraq. It was from its Grand Nuri Mosque that IS founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed the group’s rule. Iraqi forces recaptured the city last July after an operation that lasted for more than eight months. Most of the city’s infrastructure was demolished due to battles, and authorities continue to extract dead bodies from under the debris.

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