Disease runs rampant in Gaza as clean water runs out

Other illnesses have also begun to ramp up in overcrowded shelters full of people who have had to flee their homes.

On Wednesday, the WHO said there had been approximately 72,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and 808 cases of chickenpox in Gaza within the past month.

What’s more, there have been “close to 14,200 skin diseases, scabies and lice,” Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, WHO’s representative for the West Bank and Gaza, said during a briefing Wednesday.

Scabies, an itchy rash caused by tiny mites, is “one of those things that no one talks about because it doesn’t kill, but it’s really annoying,” said Dr. Paul Spiegel, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.

“When you have a lack of water and soap, scabies becomes extremely common. You’re not able to wash your bedding or your clothes,” Spiegel said. “It’s incredibly itchy. When your life is already pretty overwhelming, it’s really rough.”


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