UN: Typhoid outbreaks in Palestinian refugee camp, Syria

PNN/ Bethlehem/
At least six confirmed cases of typhoid in Yalda, and “credible reports” of cases elsewhere, UN says. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees on Tuesday reported a typhoid outbreak among civilians from Yarmouk besieged Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the Damascus, with at least six confirmed cases, said the Associated Press.

Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UNRWA, said its staff gained access to Yalda, an area east of the Yarmouk camp hosting displaced Palestinian refugees and Syrian civilians, for the first time since June 8 and established a mobile health point, reported Al-Jazeera.

UNRWA said in a situation report that its medical personnel provided 211 consultations over the course of Tuesday in Yalda, including confirming six cases of typhoid.

But the refugee agency also noted “credible reports” of a typhoid outbreak in the region with other cases in Yarmouk, Yalda and two other areas, Babila and Beit Sahem.

UNRWA said it was authorized to provide limited health assistance as well as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to the community.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, typhoid is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi which is spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. It can usually be treated with antibiotics, but can be fatal in some cases without treatment.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in June that before the Syrian war began in 2011, there were 160,000 Palestinians in the Yarmouk camp, many of whom held jobs. Before the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group entered the camp in early April, there were 18,000 refugees, but he said several thousand have fled since then and the U.N. has not had access.

“UNRWA’s priority remains the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians within Yarmouk itself,” Gunness said. “Never has the imperative for sustained humanitarian access been greater.”


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