Diarrhea in Damascus
GENEVA - Syrians are pouring across the border to escape fighting in their battered homeland and diarrhoeal disease has broken out in rural areas near Damascus, UN aid agencies said on Friday.

There has been an outbreak of diarrhoea among residents in part of the province of Rural Damascus because the water supply has been contaminated by sewage, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

"In one pocket of Rural Damascus there are 103 suspected cases of E. coli. Laboratory testing is still going on," Richard Brennan, director of WHO's emergency risk management and humanitarian response department, told Reuters. "It is due to contamination of the water supply."

"We have heard of other pockets (of diarrhoeal disease) in other areas of Rural Damascus, but have no details," he said.

Sixty-one children under age 10 are among the 103 cases discovered by health workers in a mobile clinic, WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said. "The local authorities have been alerted and are taking action," she said.

"We know from Syrian authorities that an estimated 38 hospitals and 149 other clinics have been either substantially damaged or destroyed, which clearly worsens the access to health care," he told a news briefing.
Posted by: Steve White 2012-08-18