EXCLUSIVE - Syrian Refugees Bringing Flesh-Eating Disease into U.S.
Syrian refugees are bringing a communicable flesh-eating disease into the United States.
Hoax or Fact:
Stories doing rounds online with couple of pictures warn people that Syrian refugees are bringing in and spreading a communicable flesh-eating disease in the United States. In between serious concerns over Syrian refugees, some people actually thought the stories could be facts, but no, they are not.
Origin of Stories
The stories first originated from a 20 Dec 2015 article on website breitbart.com with a title "EXCLUSIVE - Syrian Refugees Bringing Flesh-Eating Disease into U.S.?". According to the article, Health agencies have confirmed the disease called Leishmaniasis, which is caused by protozoan parasites, is sweeping across Syria and the refugees have transported it to Lebanon and Turkey; raising concerns the flesh-eating disease can spread into the U.S. as well.
The story carried a picture of a marine officer wearing a mask, which as a matter of fact, is a Getty Image showing the arrival of the Italian military ship 'Chimera' on 30 June 2014 in the port of Pozzallo, Sicily, with around 350 would be immigrants onboard a day after a rescue operation off the coast of Sicily.
On 21 Dec 2015, another website patriotcrier.com came up with a related 'breaking' news article saying the terrifying new disease leishmaniasis rocks the nation as Syrian refugees enter America. The story did not carry any pictures, but post these two articles, many stories, also with a disturbing picture (the main Image in this article) have surfaced online.
About the Story & Picture of 'Leishmaniasis'
The disturbing picture of a human hand with infection, said to show the flesh-eating disease leishmaniasis, appears to depict a different infection, one form of Amebiasis, perhaps Cutaneous Amebiasis which is present primarily on skin. On the other hand, leishmaniasis, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website cdc.gov, is a parasitic disease caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, one of the most common forms cutaneous leishmaniasis causing skin sores. Importantly, in a related FAQ section, CDC and also World Health Organization website who.int explains Leishmania spreads by the bite of infected sand flies and is not usually found in the United States, also that the disease is usually more common in rural than in urban areas. Considering these facts, it can be concluded that the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the Leishmaniasis disease in United States would be rare. As for the growing epidemic of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Syria is concerned, it occurred because of prolonged conditions of civil war and breakdown of infrastructure in the country.
So the claims that Syrian refugees are bringing a communicable flesh-eating disease called Leishmaniasis into the United States are hoaxes.
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