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ISIS Hit with Fleshing-Eating Plague-Truth! But Misleading!

ISIS Hit with Fleshing-Eating Plague-Truth! But Misleading!

Summary of eRumor:
ISIS terrorists in Syria have been stricken with a flesh-eating plague.
The Truth:
It’s true that hundreds of ISIS fighters in Raqqa, Syria, have been stricken with a flesh-eating virus called leishmaniasis.
However, the impact the virus has had on ISIS appeared to be exaggerated in reports that referred to it as a “plague.”
America’s science envoy to the Middle East said in January 2015 that there was a “perfect storm” for outbreaks of infectious disease in the areas of Syria and Iraq that were under ISIS control, the Independent reports:

“Dr. Peter Hotez, a leading global health expert, said an outbreak of leishmaniasis, a disfiguring disease spread by sand flies, was already ‘out of control’ in Syria, and he also warned about the rising risk posed by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) in a region where many hospitals have closed and disease surveillance control measures are hampered by fighting.”

There had been a total of 100,000 cases of the flesh-eating virus reported in Syria by April 2015. It wasn’t clear how many ISIS fighters were infected. Many of the ISIS fighters who were infected, however, refused medical treatment, which led to even more outbreaks, the Mirror reports:

“It causes large open wounds which eat away at flesh, is fatal if not treated with a simple course of medicine. But the jihadi fighters are refusing medical treatment, which has led to more outbreaks. People in the Islamic State’s capital Raqqa, in war-torn Syria, are at the highest risk. Doctors from non-government organization (NGO) Medecins Sans Frontieres were initially trying to curb the outbreaks but have now left since Islamic State set up. And other medical centers have closed down after medical staff fled the violence. Local medics who have very little experience of treating the virus are left to deal with patients, which has led to it spreading extensively.”

The impact of the flesh-eating virus on ISIS isn’t known, but the terrorist group’s activity toward the end of April 2015 indicated that it was far from being wiped out. ISIS was engaged in “intense clashes” with Kurdish fighters, Business Insider reports.
Medical have professionals warned that the flesh-eating virus could become a widespread epidemic in Syria, but that hadn’t appeared to have happened when this eRumor went viral.