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Contagious diseases spreading in Al-Zaatari Camp: Jordanian health official | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Syrian refugee chants anti-Bashar Assad slogans during a strike at Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP)

A Syrian refugee chants anti-Assad slogans during a strike at Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, on Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP)

Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat—A number of highly contagious and fatal diseases are spreading among refugees in the Al-Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, according to a Jordanian Health official.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdallat, the director of communicable diseases in the Jordanian Ministry of Health, revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that medical centers and hospitals in the Al-Zaatari Camp have registered numerous contagious diseases spreading among Syrian refugees. He emphasized that the directorate is currently working to treat these diseases in order to prevent them from spreading further.

According to Dr. Abdallat, the infections that have been registered include tuberculosis, hepatitis A and B, pulmonary tuberculosis, typhoid, leishmaniasis and HIV-AIDS. He added that eight individuals were involved in the HIV-AIDS cases.

The director went on to say that the causes of these diseases vary and include bad hygiene conditions, and non-compliance with or incomplete inoculation programs.

He pointed out that those suffering from the HIV virus were infected before entering Jordan, possibly from contaminated blood.

Abdallat said that humanitarian organizations and the Jordanian Health Ministry have conducted a measles immunization program as a precautionary measure.

For his part, Khalid Abu Rumman, director of the National Program to Stop Tuberculosis in Jordan, noted that the number of Syrian refugees in the Al-Zaatari Camp with tuberculosis has reached about 151, according to the medical centers based in the camp.

Abu Rumman specified that the rate of tuberculosis infections in Syria were high, with 40 cases in every 1,000 persons. He added that this rate is high when compared with Jordan, where five in every 100,000 are infected.

The number of Syrian refugees in the Al-Zaatari Camp has exceeded 190,000. In all, there are 540,000 Syrian refugees living in various Jordanian cities.

According to the UN’s refugee agency, over 1.5 million Syrians have fled their conflict-ravaged homeland, warning that the real figure could be even higher as the tally only reflected those who register with aid groups.