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War Between Israel and Hamas Has Given Rise to Infectious Disease Outbreaks

The Israel-Hamas conflict has been extremely deadly. At least 16,015 Palestinians and

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The Israel-Hamas conflict has been extremely deadly. At least 16,015 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have died since October 7. Beyond the direct impacts of the bombs and missiles, the resulting destruction of infrastructure is a major threat to Gazans’ health. While lsrael allowed more aid to reach Gaza during last week’s ceasefire, the onslaught of violence has crippled power systems and supplies of food, water and medicine. The dearth of these vital resources has led to increasingly more infections. The lack of clean water has caused many people to suffer from cholera and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Packed shelters have fueled the spread of measles and COVID-19, as has the interruption of infection control measures such as vaccinations. Malnutrition has also made people more vulnerable to infectious diseases and less able to recover once they’re ill.

Global health experts say that in war torn regions, these indirect health effects often surpass the toll taken by the weapons themselves. “Infectious disease and other health challenges are always a concern in conflict regions”, explained Rebecca Katz, professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University. “If the conflict impacts access to safe water, then there may be challenges with waterborne diseases. “If it is difficult to maintain sanitation, then the population is at risk of multiple other diseases associated with challenges related to safe drinking water and functional wastewater systems.”

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