- Hello Jeff - The health situation, or should I say lack
of health, in Iraq is critical. People are developing cancers as well
as birth defects of newborns due to depleted uranium. The weapons and
the military hardware containing depleated uranium are a danger, not only
to Iraqis, but also to people in the US. Depleated Uranium products used
in Iraq are made here in the US. People live near the factories and DU
products are trucked and railed across the US. Polution from the factors
can seep into water tables and pollute the air.
- Iraq has no safe water in the entire country. Sewage
treatment plants are not on line and the water contains viruses and bacteria.
Part of the problem is the fact that Iraq still does not have uninterrupted
electricity. With all of the billions of dollars going to rebuild Iraq,
and with all of the PR we hear from the Bush administration about a post
war Iraq, we have a nation that presents major health risks for people.
- International Herald Tribune online
- By James Glanz
- NY Times
- A virulent form of hepatitis that is especially lethal
for pregnant women
- has broken out in 2 of Iraq's most troubled districts,
Iraqi Health Ministry officials said in interviews here this week, and
they warned that a collapse of water and sewage systems in the country
is probably at the root of the illnesses.
- The disease, called hepatitis E, is caused by a virus
that is often spread by sewage-contaminated drinking water. The officials
said that their limited ability to test for the virus had already been
overwhelmed by the hepatitis outbreaks, suggesting that only a fraction
of the actual cases have been diagnosed. But in Sadr City, a Baghdad slum
that for months has been convulsed by gun battles between a local militia
and American troops, as many as 155 cases have turned up.
- The 2nd outbreak is in Mahmudiya, a town 56 km (35 miles)
south of Baghdad that is known as much for its kidnappings and drive-by
shootings as for its poverty, where 60 suspected cases have been seen.
At least 9 pregnant women are believed to have been infected, and one has
died. There have been 5 reported deaths overall. "We are saying that
the real number is greatly more than this, because the area is greatly
underreported," said Dr. Atta-alla Mekhlif al-Salmani, head of the
viral hepatitis section at the Health Ministry's Center for Disease Control.
- The World Health Organization is rushing hepatitis E
testing kits, water purification tablets, informational brochures and other
materials to Iraq to help with the outbreaks, said Dr Naeema al-Gasseer,
the health agency representative for Iraq and a UN health official, who
is now based in Amman, Jordan.
- But viral hepatitis comes in numerous forms, and another
ominous set of statistics suggests that the quality of water supplies around
the country has deteriorated since the American-led invasion last year,
Salmani said. In 2003, there were 70 per cent more cases of hepatitis of
all types reported across Iraq than in the year before, he said. During
the first 6 months of 2004, there were as many cases as in all of 2002.
- In yet another indication of the deteriorating safety
of both water and food in Iraq, the number of reported cases of typhoid
fever is up sharply this year, said Dr Nima S Abid, the ministry's director
general of public health and primary health. Hospitals across the country
are also full of children with severe forms of diarrhea, Abid said.
- The immediate reason for the outbreaks in Sadr City and
Mahmudiya appear to be easy to pin down, Abid said. The lack of infrastructure
induces families to tap into water mains with improvised hoses, he said,
citing his own visits to the communities. They then use small electric
pumps to bring water into their homes. But in these same communities, sewage
either seeps from damaged pipes into the ground or runs freely in the streets.
So, through cracks and holes in people's hoses, sewage is sucked in too,
becoming mixed with the drinking water and spreading the virus. "The
problem is that there is a leakage in the sewer system of Sadr," said
an assistant to the director general for water in the Baghdad municipality.
"Our treatment plant produces water with WHO specifications,"
said the assistant, who asked to be identified only as Khalid, "and
our test records are very good." The assistant said that there had
been a major water project under way for Sadr City, but that the dangerous
security situation had made it impossible to proceed.
- George A Robertson, PhD
- Vice President Science & Technology
- An International Association for Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical
- Science and Technology
- 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1500
- Bethesda, MD 20814 USA
- [The viruses responsible for hepatitis A and hepatitis
E are structurally similar, but phylogenetically distinct, enteric viruses
transmitted by similar routes. An effective vaccine is available for control
of hepatitis A virus infection, but there is no vaccine for control of
hepatitis E. Although both viruses are relatively heat resistant, boiling
of drinking water would provide a first line of defence against the spread
of infection. - Mod.CP]
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health