Health Officials Panic As Gaza Residents Become Ill

Cold, damp weather and lack of clean water, toilets, and food are contributing factors to the infectious disease epidemic in Gaza. The afflictions affect the respiratory system, the stomach, and other body parts.

With almost 18,000 casualties since hostilities broke out, the conflict has also trapped more than 2 million people in Gaza. There has been an unprecedented surge in the number of infectious illness cases recorded by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the conflict started, reaching 369,000.

Palestinians, particularly youngsters, the elderly, and those with impaired immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to respiratory illnesses such as the common cold and pneumonia. Recent conflicts in Sudan, Yemen, and Syria have contributed to the spread of cholera, and the presence of corpses in or near water sources may further contaminate the water, raising the risk of an entire host of other gastrointestinal illnesses. It is typical for corpses to remain exposed to the public for extended periods during the Gaza conflict, which may lead to the spread of diseases such as TB and blood-borne infections.

To allow humanitarian assistance to enter via Egypt and increase the amount of food, water, medical supplies, and shelter equipment that may enter Gaza, the Israeli military said on Monday that a second security checkpoint would be opened at the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Since a brief truce failed around a week and a half ago, relief groups have said that the amount of assistance entering Gaza has been insufficient. Critical care for victims of airstrike trauma is the main emphasis of hospitals that are still operational, although many of these patients get postoperative treatment in filthy circumstances, leading to severe infections.

About 1,000 instances of hepatitis A were documented in the Gaza Strip last week, according to Mai Alkaila, the health minister of the Palestinian Authority. Those seeking safety and refuge at shelters managed by the United Nations have been using shared restrooms without running water.

The accumulation of human waste on the streets may also contribute to spreading illness and polluting water supplies.

Israeli officials have announced that they would examine humanitarian supplies heading for Gaza at an additional shared crossing at Nitzana.