The latest affliction to hit weary residents of Aleppo is written on their faces. Some call it the “Aleppo button,” a welt caused by leishmaniasis, an illness that is sweeping the Syrian city.
Transmitted by flies, the parasitic disease arrived along with the thousands of Syrians displaced from their homes by fighting.
Mohamed, 11, first saw the unsightly welts caused by the disease appear on his face three months ago, and they keep growing.
“It’s a fly that comes from pomegranates, it bites you and you catch the Aleppo button,” he says.
The welts cover his nose and have cropped up around his mouth. While painless, they could leave scars that last for life. His mother, sister and cousins have also contracted the same infection.
The disease, which is not fatal but weakens the immune system, was largely confined to the countryside of Aleppo province until the civil war.
But as the conflict forces people from their homes and into the city, once Syria’s economic hub, the disease has taken hold in Aleppo like never before.
“Between 200 and 250 people with leishmaniasis come for treatment” each day, according to 23-year-old Ali, a medical volunteer at a makeshift clinic in the city.
In the hallway where he receives the latest patients, a dozen men, women and children offer up their faces and arms, covered with the welts.
In the neighboring room, under a sheet, a man pours the antiseptic Betadine over his leg. The disease has devoured all the skin on his calf.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر